In many classrooms across the country, teachers are posting objectives. Yet, the degree to which the lesson being taught is aligned with the posted objective varies greatly across schools and, sometimes, classrooms. Why? Often, in an effort to promote objective-driven lessons, school leaders will require that teachers have an objective posted. During a faculty meeting or professional development session, the principal will announce the requirement and then release the teachers to implement the change. Lacking a sound reason behind the requirement, an understanding of the value or purpose of the practice, or how to use the objective to design lessons for mastery, the teachers will return to their classrooms, post an objective, and continue to teach as they did prior to the meeting.
Moving a school toward objective-driven instruction requires that school leaders provide teachers real clarity about the change. In the absence of clarity about posting an objective, the practice was reduced to little more than an act of compliance. Teachers need to understand the reason for the change. They need to know why objective-driven instruction is important or valuable – how it will help them and their students be more successful. Teachers need to know how to design and deliver objective–driven instruction and what it will look like when done well. And they will need ongoing support to implement the practice through modeling, practice, observation, and feedback. The challenge for school leaders, then, is to communicate a compelling reason for the change, to create clarity and consistency about what teachers must do to implement the change, and to build teachers’ capacity to implement the change.