Language Objectives are the HOW of the lesson and articulates what students will be doing within the lesson in terms of reading, writing, listening, speaking and thinking. Like content objectives, language objectives should be stated clearly and simply in student friendly language. Students should be informed of them in both writing and orally. When developing a language objective for a lesson, the teacher should ask the question, "What are my students doing today to develop their language skills?" For example, a language objective could include interaction in the form of discussion (paired and/or cooperative learning activities).
According to Echevarria, Vogt and Short, "A wide variety of language objectives can be planned according to the goals and activities in the lesson. In some cases, language objectives may focus on developing students' vocabulary. Other lessons may lend themselves to reading comprehension skills practice or the writing process, helping students to brainstorm, outline, draft, revise, edit, and complete a text." Language objectives often accompany a content objective when teaching content areas such as math, science or social studies. An example of how a content objectives and language objectives can be integrated within a lesson are shown below;
The students will be able to use constructions to explore attributes of geometric figures and to make conjectures about geometric relationships.
The student will be able to use mathematical vocabulary to explain orally or in writing the attributes of geometric figures.
Students will compare and contrast the physical adaptations that whales and sharks have that aid in their survival.
Students will write a compare and contrast paragraph, using vocabulary associated with the language function of compare and contrast after completing a Venn Diagram with a partner.
Language objectives can also emphasize the vocabulary necessary for students to master the content objective. It is important for the teacher to recognize when important vocabulary words will be introduced into the lesson. In this case the vocabulary is extracted directly from the content objective; however, there may be some tier two vocabulary or background vocabulary that must also be addressed for the ELL student. Without the understanding of vocabulary the lesson itself may become fragmented within the learners mind and the loss of focus will distract the learner from making conceptual ties. Enhancing the students focus is an important attribute to teaching and the teacher should eliminate any distracters like lack of vocabulary development within the lesson. An example of how a vocabulary objectives can be written for a math class are shown below;
Students will use a specific list of mathematical vocabulary to describe the attributes of specific geometric figures.