Exploring Goals and Objectives for Teaching

Goals and objective provide a sense of meaning and purpose in whatever an individual aspire to achieve. Goals and objectives also give a sense of direction. When moving toward goals and objectives, both teacher and students can confidently and effectively complete lessons and assignments daily as well as throughout the school year. Instructional goals and objectives in education have similar intentions. However, they are slightly different.

Instructional Goals

Instructional goals are long range goals designed to foster academic direction over the course of a semester or school year. Instructional goals should be broad and promote an intended outcome. For example, “First graders will learn how to effectively read on a 1st or 2nd-grade level.” In this sentence, the intended outcome for the student is clear. When teachers know what they want the student to be able to do, they can choose the appropriate materials and technique necessary to educate that student.



Objectives are similar to instructional goals in the sense that they provide direction as well as an outcome. However, objectives consist of short-term academic targets designed to complete instructional goals. Objectives are also measurable and student centered. For example, “By the end of the first quarter, all students will be able to read the first-grade word wall.” This sentence is measurable, tells what the student will do and states the intended outcome. The objective also supports the instructional goal mentioned earlier for first graders.


Classroom teachers who are having trouble writing their own instructional goals and objectives can obtain them from a variety of sources, included those mandated by state law. Each state has an outline of topics, goals and objectives designed to be taught in every grade level. Another source for instructional goals and objectives is the curriculum guides of the local school systems. Other sources include school-wide improvement projects such as Alabama Reading Initiative and past test scores representing high student achievements.

Single Focus

Instructional goals or objectives should focus on a single outcome. Having several learning outcomes attached to an instructional goal or objective can confuse focus and direction. For example, “Students will be able to understand and use dissecting strategies effectively.’ The goal contains two possible outcomes. However, focusing on one outcome is better because, even though students may be able to understand the principles of dissecting strategies, the may not be able to perform it. Moreover, an instructional goal should cover a broad range of subject matter and content.