WALT, WALA, TIB & WILF – How do YOU use learning intentions? 

A teacher’s take on using WALTs effectively across the whole week…

I wrote some time ago about the use of the learning intention acronyms WALT, WALA, WILF and TIB: Meet WALT, WILF, WALA & TIB.

Currently teaching Level One, truth-be-told, WALT/WALA is just about all they can handle. TIB is generally put across verbally or in making explicit links to prior or future learning, and WILF – the success criteria – usually takes the form of a very simple rubric or checklist, or again verbally. But, the question I want to pose is…

For how long do you display and refer to your learning intentions?

This came up during a recent observation session of myself by a leading teacher at my school. She noticed that I do the following…

I begin each week with a clean slate, so-to-speak. Each lesson, I will write up the new WALT (under its subject heading such as Reading, Spelling, Mathematics etc), and discuss the WALT along with any new vocabulary that it might feature, before starting the whole class tuning in. That WALT stays on my board all week! At the start of each lesson, I’ll add a new WALT and sometimes, if for example we are doing a unit or sequence of lessons, it might stay the same. The result by the week’s end is a nice collection of 3-4 WALTs for each key curriculum area!

This struck the observing teacher as odd, even pointless. To me, it makes sense to leave recent WALTs up. Learning is a continuum. Concepts and skills are transferable. New lessons relate to past and future learning. I feel as though my technique clearly shows the students this, rather then having them falsely believe that each lesson stands in isolation.

The other benefit is – and I haven’t written about this before – my school has a heavily student-centered developmental curriculum. Some may say ‘play-based’ but I think there might be some negative connotations around that term and it paints a misrepresentation of what exactly goes on. As such, as students navigate their Investigations I and they can refer to our week’s learning intentions and make wonderful, genuine connections between their experiences and what naysayers would call the ‘real learning’. Put simply, having a broader range of WALTs to refer back to, opens up more opportunities for meaningful connections.

That’s my opinion anyway…

So what do you do in your classroom?

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2 thoughts on “WALT, WALA, TIB & WILF – How do YOU use learning intentions? 

  1. My least favourite thing about learning objectives is my school’s insistence that the children write them as a title at the top of every piece of work, including Maths. For some kids who find recording difficult, that wastes a good chunk of valuable learning time. I’ve tried printing them on labels for those kids, but that is very time-consuming for me, and frankly I just can’t manage it. Do your children have the WALT recorded with each piece of work?

    • My school doesn’t required LI’s on student work as in your comment. However, they are keen on ‘book work’ presentation having some kind of title and date. If it’s a long one, like you mentioned, I’ll type it on a strip of paper and give one to each child to glue in. Otherwise, I’ll abbreviate the LI significantly! Eg. If the LI is ‘We are learning to make dollar amounts using coins’, the title they put in their book might simply be ‘Money’! I always also make sure they set up the page in their book before Tuning In so that it doesn’t waste time on task. I agree with you though, particularly with younger year levels, it’s unnecessary ‘copying off the board’ time.

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