What are ‘Instructional Objectives’ in the class?

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As any self-respecting teacher would know that in class if you do not know where your class is heading you will never get there. This is true for any teacher who enters a classroom intending to give their students an education that will further expand the students’ knowledge. This means that objectives need to be set. This means instructional objectives need to be attained. The methods and training that the teachers will implement during the class should be incorporated in reaching everyone’s goals and objectives. The teacher has to discover whether the students leaving the classroom have demonstrated their language/skills acquisition. It has to be clear in the teacher’s mind that the students will exit the class having broadened their ideas/knowledge in while being able to talk about something new.

There has to be a teaching approach that the teacher utilizes to formulate the students’ learning that enhances aptitude. One way is for the teacher to state what they would like the students to be able to do at the end of the class although the ‘in between’ phase needs to be verified. This also relates to the students who should know what their objectives are. This is by stating exactly what they should be able to achieve in the specified time. This is done by explaining the objectives to the students. Objectives need to be stated. The first step is to write an objective. The teacher must know what they want the students to be able to do. Objectives are clearly stated using action verbs like ‘define’ and ‘describe’.  Objectives look at the students showing/defining what they have learnt. The teacher will never know unless they see and hear for himself. The students’ learning is imperative and making objectives that are not achievable will not help their learning. The teacher must be clear in their head what the measurable objectives for the students are. An objective is a written statement, defining in precise terms, what the learner will be able to do at the end of the training and how well. A teacher is faced with setting out understandable objectives. A verb like ‘know’, which clearly does not allow the teacher to define the student’s capacity of knowledge, will not help achievement. So, many verbs can be open to interpretation such as ‘know, understand, and think’ clearly do not prove to the teacher that the student is in command of new expressions and terms. Verbs like ‘define and describe’ will undoubtedly illustrate to the instructor the depth of the students’ language acquisition. This means that teachers do not just have objectives per se but clear objectives that define the learning outcome. There has to be some form of accomplishment at the end of the class or term. A factor that has to be taken into account is; are the objectives achievable? It acceptable to have objectives but if they surpass what the student level is at, the objectives will not work. These have to be arranged in a format that will allow the students to learn. These objectives have to be measurable and observable.

The teacher also has to determine the domain in which objective can be classified. There are generally 3 domains cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor. Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues (1956) developed a widely accepted taxonomy for cognitive objectives. The main domain is cognitive. Bloom further classified the cognitive domain into 6 levels. The lowest level is knowledge. This is the students’ ability to recall information. The teachers can the students to state, recall, tell, and define. The next level is comprehension. The students must be able to grasp meaning, explain and restate ideas. There is also evaluation during the course of learning where the teacher has to see how far the students have developed. Of course, teaching and student’s acquisition of language is not as straightforward as would seem. Some students need that extra bit of tuition which is standard. This is where feedback comes in. The teacher has to evaluate the students. The students have to develop through the instructional process and if this does not work first time the teacher has to have a plan to reinforce the objective and set the students on the right path. The students need to improve so as not too elongated learning where it becomes tedious. This also helps the group where everyone is working together. For a group/class, task analysis is used a lot by many institutions which progressively test the students to evaluate their level of acquisition and are they achieving the objectives. Robert Mager defined three conditions of objectives. Learning objectives determine the outcomes and how they are to be assessed with the all modules having clear, defined objectives, practice exercises, and mastery tests. A good learning objective has to have three primary components of an objective:

  1. An objective always describes the important conditions (if any) under which the performance is to occur.
  2. An objective always says what a learner is expected to be able to do; the objective sometimes describes the product or the result of the doing.
  3. Wherever possible, an objective describes the criterion of acceptable performance by describing how well the learner must perform in order to be considered acceptable.

I have shown how teachers should not only look have objectives but also make those objectives quantifiable for the students. This means that the teacher will get an enhanced picture of the students learning. This, of course, means that the teacher can focus not only each lesson but the whole term to achieve certain objectives.

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Write an assignment of around 500 words explaining how you would prepare an IELTS candidate for the exam.

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Outline the process you would follow and identify some of the possible problems you might encounter and address cultural nuances with regard to the method of teaching using the teacher-student approach.

Preparation has to be important for any aspect of life and IELTS is no exception. The test is certainly a challenge. The greatest challenges are faced by candidates themselves who are having to adapt and adjust their learning styles to cope with a test that is making new demands on them. Candidates have to be honest with themselves and make sure that they are capable of doing the test. It is important for the teacher to grade candidates before they sit a preparation course. The teacher has to ascertain which candidates are at least at an intermediate level of English which means they can have a genuine chance of passing.

For an IELTS preparation course, I would set a timetable for the candidate to study. This could be in the region of 3 or 4 weeks before the test although their preparation should start earlier. Candidates may well be unfamiliar with IELTS test so I would expect 30 or more hours just to teach the ins and outs.  This would mean each candidate gets at least 8 hours of training on each module. Candidates need a pre-preparation course IELTS test. This allows them to get a feel for the format and what they are faced with while highlighting difficulties. From the start, I would encourage candidates to read widely, e.g. newspapers, journals, magazines and books for pleasure, due to the fact that the reading module can be the most difficult. I would focus on developing their vocabulary in the topic areas to enable them to comprehend terms, expressions, and terminology they may encounter. I would advise the candidate to spend a minimum of 1 hour per day on individual self-directed study. I would advise writing every day and give the candidate enough writing test formats so they become instinctual. I would show the candidate that a lot of material can be found on the internet such as practice tests. I would also set regular homework including practice exams and individual tutorials where problems can be discussed.

My job as an IELTS teacher would be to set out to challenge, motivate, and build confidence. This would be done with task and communicative based activities, appropriate to the candidates’ needs. Group work and pair work would play an integral part. I would pay special attention to those questions that individuals get wrong. I would encourage the group to help the others understand why they were wrong. I would be well prepared with the resources, especially when proving those wrong answers. I would be also wary of other problems that arise such as students being familiar with multiple choice tests and tending to listen to every word in a test conversation without extracting main points. Moreover, cultural difference can also arise, for example, Asian students are not used to arguing a point and tend to give short answers in speaking. I would recognise that some candidates have grammar knowledge but their speaking is limited.

Furthermore, I would recognise where difficulties may arise. I would encourage peer checking. I would encourage students to underline key words and phrases when they read, as well as paying attention to key words in the questions.  When writing about bar and line graphs, pie charts and tables, I would make sure candidates understand what the axis on the graph(s) or the percentages in the pie chart(s) represent. This includes writing within specific time recognising that time pressure can worry candidates. I would focus also on grammar and spelling, highlighting that points can be lost in the test. I would expect the students to be conversant with each module a week before the test.

As a final thought, I would advise the candidate to make sure that the week before the test is not a time for intensive study. Stress and worry come with doing the test. The week before is a time to review skills and their test techniques. I would be their advisor if problems arose. I would say the candidate must be relaxed and ready for the test.

(669 Words)