Why is it always on a slide?

The whole point of learning intentions and success criteria is that students know what they are learning and that they have a way of deciding if they have managed to learn it.


Notice the key word here – they.


At the moment in a lot of schools, it has been decided that success criteria and learning intentions (often not thought of as different) are important, so they must appear in a lesson. This often takes the form of a slide; the teacher near the start flashes up a slide saying these are the learning intentions and success criteria.


This is really a bit odd when properly considered from the student’s point of view. Firstly, they have no context to these abstract things they are being shown, and the slide is going to disappear very soon, as the teacher is often keen to get onto the content. Secondly, think of the words you are using for these students, I have met teachers that didn’t understand the difference between learning intentions and success criteria, why are we using such “jargony” words? What on earth is wrong with:


What am I learning into today’s lesson?


How will I know when I understanding it?


We are not for dumbing down, but we are for practical and impactful.


The teacher often returns to the slide later and ticks these off saying, ‘great we’ve done these!’ I have observed lessons where this has happened, because it is good AfL, but then asking a student “do you know this?” hasn’t got the answer I suspect the teacher wanted.


One Rethink approach to try is to get rid of the slides entirely. This tip is a little more work than the others but is well worth it.  Give the students all of the learning intentions for the topic on a little sheet or booklet. Let them identify when they think that they’ve learned each intention and get them to write how they think they’ve done it (their success criteria). Not only will the intentions be theirs, you will also have a personalised guide as to which parts of the topic individual students think they don’t understand.


They will need a bit of help with this approach at first, but students really enjoy taking control of their learning like this. You will get students coming to ask about a specific intention they did not understand after the lesson. This can then form the basis of many different things from exam readiness, to self-assessment; It is such a useful tool.