Support material for Step 1 Tutorial

Aims in general

Aims can also be referred to as goals or objectives. They should always be connected to results, which is to say that by understanding where you want the students to end up, you can construct tasks or activities that will allow them to reach these desired results. Your aims will give direction to the tasks, or activities, that you select. For example, if your aim is to teach students how to extract important information from a text the activities that you give them would be different than if your aim was to teach them to how to recognize specific grammar structures in a text.

Aims can also be overarching in terms of covering a whole unit of work -  understand how changes in society led to changes in art, or even course of work – acquire the skills needed to create or perform art.

A good aim should be flexible and allow for a variety of outcomes.

The aims consist of:

• CONTENT AIMS –  based on the needs of the learners and on the curriculum.
• THINKING AIMS – practice the use of particular thinking tools (eg ENV) and /or practice some of the skills necessary for using and understanding these tools (understanding values and parameters, categorizing, comparing, contrasting) What tool is appropriate for your aims? How are the skills necessary for this broken down? What will the students need to be able to do to apply these? (eg categorizing, noticing similarities and differences.) Ultimately the thinking aims teach the learners to think systematically and to use thinking tools to help them solve any problems, also those of a type they have never encountered before.


THE FUNCTION of your aims can be made clearer by using function formulation, which has 3 steps.

1. Formulate your aims through COMMON LANGUAGE           eg to present well 
2. Formulate your aims through VERB + OBJECT.                 eg to present a product 
3. Formulate your aims using the verb CHANGE.                   eg to change the listeners’ attitude

Thus the aim of presenting well becomes more specific (relates to a particular product) and has a purpose (to persuade).

The aims of a thinking task should always be considered in context and should always consider what it is they hope to change. Overall aims are usually part of a system of tasks, each with their own specific aim, but all moving towards the same goal and leading to refinement of the algorithm or description for doing such a task.

When your content and thinking aims are clear and well - formulated, it is time to move on to Step 1 tutorial of the Thinking Task Framework, a tool to help teachers plan thinking tasks and lessons, where you can find out HOW to create a thinking task.

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