What IS Teacher Clarity?
Simply put, teacher clarity means an educator has absolute clarity about what students are to learn, know, and be able to do for an upcoming instructional focus before they plan any instruction and assessments.
The Clarity Problem
Today there’s a lot of fuzziness around learning outcomes. Teachers aren’t crystal clear about what they’re supposed to be teaching. Students often confuse what they’re learning with what they’re doing. They can tell you about the activities they’re engaged in, but not the intended learning those activities are designed to achieve.
The Clarity Solution
When teachers are certain about their learning intentions—what they want students to know and be able to do in a unit of study and in specific daily lessons—they can intentionally design assessments, plan instruction, and select appropriate curriculum materials directly aligned to those learning intentions. Teachers write the learning intentions in student-friendly language so students will be clear about what they are expected to learn.
Success criteria—specific descriptors of how students will achieve the learning intentions—provide teachers and students with a detailed “roadmap to the destination” that focuses instruction and motivates students to engage in the learning.
Learning progressions are the “building blocks” or instructional scaffolds that teachers pre-plan in order to help students achieve the learning intention. They are the pre-requisite skills and concepts that lay out the sequenced pathway of learning. The learning progressions provide clarity for the “Where to next?” element of teaching and learning.
Powerful and Empowering
Learning intentions, success criteria, and learning progressions are both powerful and empowering; powerful for the clarity and sharp focus they provide, and empowering for teachers and students to know:
- what the learning targets are
- how they are to be achieved, and
- why they are important
Keep It Simple!
Corwin and I planned the one-day workshop to be a step-by-step, straightforward process that any teacher in any grade and content area could immediately apply in their own classroom. To keep the process simple, I designed six steps to apply to only one standard at first. Once teachers feel comfortable with the process, they can then apply it more easily to multiple standards for a unit of study. In each step, you will see how clarity is created for both teachers and students!