Goals- appropriately challenging and specific learning objectivesA classic question to a ask a student during a lesson is, “what are you learning about today?”. You may be surprised by how often you hear the reply, “I dunno...”. (I have explored this in the context of science practical lessons).Hattie and Marzano both identify the huge importance of ‘goals’- clear learning objectives owned by the student.(Hattie, 2009)Marzano attaches even more significance to the setting of learning goals, offering a summary figure of d=0.97 for the setting of goals before a lesson progresses:(Marzano, 2001) Let’s get these two effect sizes in context: being clear about the goals, the intentions of the learning activity result in achievement gains that are between one and two grades higher than learning activities that do not have clear, challenging goals specified for them. So... resonant message: specifying challenging learning goals is hugely important.Why Challenging?Hattie quotes Wood and Lock (1987) who report that the performance of students who were set challenging goals were 250% higher than those set easy goals. The degree of ‘challenge’ embodied by the goal is important. Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development theory is helpful here. The degree of challenge needs to be achievable through the provision of various methods of support or scaffolding. It is also vital that the student has confidence that they can attain the goal through effort, and that the pathway to achieving the goal is clear.