Half way through my PGCE, I discovered QFL. Until then, I had started each lesson with my learning (or lesson) objectives. Pupils wrote them down, as they do in every other lesson in every other subject. When I asked one of them what they used them for, the pupil said they don’t know. I just do not see the point in pupils spending the first ten minutes of the lesson writing down two or three lines of words that they will never look at again.
Of course, learning objectives are essential when planning a lesson. It is so important to know what you want your pupils to achieve in the lesson. It is important to use those Blooms key words to ensure you are including lower and higher order thinking skills. But is it so essential to share these with your pupils?
When I was training, I was told in workshops and lectures how you could choose not to share the LOs with your pupils, and have them guess them at the end. Or you could not share them at all. But I do think it’s important for pupils to know what they are aiming for in a lesson. I discovered QFLs and have used them ever since.
QFL stands for question for learning. I translate my learning objectives into a question and write them on my stater slide, the same as I would a learning objective. These are often questions that pupils are not able to answer at the start of the lesson and then can answer at the end. Clear progress.
QFLs allow your pupils to see their progress clearly without having to work out if they have been able ‘to analyse x’ or ‘to evaluate x’. They are simple terms that pupils are able to assess their own progress against easily. You wouldn’t give pupils a complex exam board mark scheme with no scaffolding for them to use in lesson, so I do not see why learning objectives that are for teacher use mainly are hugely useful or meaningful for pupils.
Of course it is the policy of some schools that all pupils write down a LO at the start of the lesson and this cannot be avoided by some teachers. However, I have found that QFLs are a much more meaningful way of pupils demonstrating and being able to recognise their own progress, which should be the main aim of every lesson.