Educational Strategies – The Importance of Setting Learning Intentions

The Importance of Setting Learning Intentions

As educational strategies go, setting learning intentions may seem obvious. But with so much focus on lesson plans and with many peripheral distractions from Common Core to No Child Left Behind, what may seem like minor details often get overlooked.

In a recent conversation with Beth Cobb, a district leader in the Vermont public school system, and user of our Keeping Learning on Track teacher professional development program, we gained insight into the importance of setting learning intentions.

Putting formative assessment strategies in place to elicit evidence of learning is important, but defining what that learning is needs to be step one. As Beth states, “The other techniques define and deepen the understanding of learning but you have to set that goal first. Especially with the Common Core coming out, we can talk about learning intentions within that; it gives us a great focus.”

As we discussed formative assessment strategies and techniques that they’re implementing in the classroom, the importance of setting learning intentions becomes obvious. “You can use the techniques in Keeping Learning on Track, like an exit ticket, but if you don’t have that learning intention, what’s that exit ticket about? It sets the whole tone and the learning for the entire lesson.”

If you’re a teacher or administrator, are your classes setting learning intentions? If so, what has been the reaction of students?