KS3 Music

a professional development programme

Identifying and sharing learning objectives

Having located and defined the purpose of the lesson, it is possible to plan the detailed learning that pupils will need to acquire during the lesson.

A two-step approach – in which pupils are told not only the purpose of the lesson but also what the teacher expects in terms of outcomes from tasks – leads to improved learning, particularly for pupils who tend to make slower progress or who can be challenging.

Read the section below to develop your understanding of how different categories of learning objectives can be used to clarify learning for a music lesson.

You can then undertake:

Identifying learning objectives

The learning objective for your lesson will fit into one of the following five categories:

  1. Acquiring and applying knowledge (learning factual information, especially about features of musical elements but also about theory or notation, performers or performance practice and historical facts)

    If pupils are learning about the conventions of styles, genres and traditions, they need to know the technical aspects that contribute to them. Learning about features of musical elements (i.e. how polyrhythms work within duration) will be a critical aspect of this knowledge, along with relevant information about theory and performance or composition practice. Pupils must not just learn information, however: they need to be able to apply it within a practical context, enabling their musical understanding to flourish.

  2. Acquiring concepts (understanding the conventions, processes and devices of different musical styles, genres and traditions)

    At the heart of pupils’ musical learning is their understanding about how musical styles, genres and traditions work and convey meaning. The concepts involved require them to develop an understanding of musical conventions, processes and devices, and how these reflect the artistic or cultural context within which they operate.

  3. Acquiring new behaviours, learning new skills (especially learning the practical skills of music: singing, performing, improvising, composing, analysing, evaluating and listening)

    Musical understanding can only be firmly embedded in pupils’ learning when it is explored, applied and demonstrated through practical music making. This often requires the development of specific skills. Teaching methods will be carefully structured and involve direct interaction between teacher and pupil.

    They include direction and explanation on how to improve as well as what to do.

  4. Exploring attitudes and values, perspectives on a problem and solutions to complex issues (developing understanding through empathy, caring, sensitivity towards contexts, social issues and moral issues)

    The arts are about aesthetic development, and developing an understanding of the social and cultural contexts within which music making happens is an important part of the learning process. Enabling pupils to learn respect for other views, cultures and attitudes is a fundamental aspect of music education.

  5. Experiencing personal growth, developing creativity (creating, designing, hypothesising and exploring alternatives)

    Music is a creative as well as a performing art. Pupils learn how to solve problems by exploring artistic solutions to a wide range of musical challenges.

    In doing so, they gain confidence and self-esteem.

Any one lesson should have a maximum of three learning objectives and very often a lesson will only have one or two. This enables a proper focus on the learning, rather than an attempt to deliver too much activity.

Department for children, schools and families Structuring learning for musical engagement

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