1. provide a focus for your lesson
2. keep you on track
3. allow you, at the end of the lesson, to evaluate whether or not you’ve accomplished what you set out to do
How will William Tell know if he has met his aim/objective?
Have clear and specific aims
Most course books have aims stated at the beginning of each lesson, but we should check to make sure this is what our students really will benefit from. Maybe they aren’t all quite at this level, need some revision first, or possibly, they already know quite a lot of what is needed and they will be bored and frustrated if we cover these things again in so much detail. We can select the ones most suitable for our students and in the time available, and then go on to chose the materials and teaching aids we need to bring them to life.
If we write out the aims of a lesson, we might start with a general aim. In example:
Students will be able to successfully request information over the telephone.
In this example there is only one main aim but there might be two in a lesson.
We might also break the main aim down into parts. This is especially useful if you are writing a lesson plan for a lesson which will be observed or assessed or if you need to think very carefully through a difficult lesson. Below is an example of three specific aims:
1. comprehend a simple phone conversation
2. understand and produce necessary vocabulary for this task
3. correctly use the proper levels of politeness in a role play
Once our aims are clear, we can decide on which activities will help achieve our aims. These activities, when completed successfully, provide us with evidence of learning.(The man in the cartoon should probably practice a bit with a model before moving on to a live person, don’t you think?)
So, here are some actual activities we would do in class. These activities help students practice the language and skills they need to achieve our lesson aim. Here is an example of three activities:
• recognizing the target vocabulary in the listening text
• completing the gapped dialogue with the correct phrases
• carrying out a role play sitting back to back (as though on the telephone)