What's the Objective?
By Dr. Geoffrey Cross, WR Coordinator
Class objectives are an important part of instruction—we are asked by the Code of Faculty Responsibility to make them clear to students the first days of class. However, when all the objectives in our syllabi are not stated explicitly, students suffer from a "hidden curriculum" by which they are judged.
Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu explains the hidden curriculum by noting that those steeped in a culture, in our case a discipline, develop a “habitus,” a sensibility formed over years. Being unaware of our assumptions, we may leave a lot unexplained. Students only see the tip of the iceberg, but too often they are graded as if they knew more.
How can we make our tacit objectives
explicit? Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy
of course objectives, one of the most thorough inventories, can help.
Reviewing this list and incorporating the writing that best meets your
objectives into your syllabi will let students have the benefits of all
of your knowledge!
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