What’s the Goss on WALT and WILF (Examples Included)

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Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

Have you met WALT and WILF yet? Or perhaps you have met their friends TIB, WAGOLL, TILT, WINK, WILL, LI, and SC? Have I lost you yet?

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If you have come to this blog it’s because you are trying to decipher these acronyms and what they mean, or perhaps you know what they stand for, but aren’t sure which ones to use and how to successfully implement this language into your classroom.

Confused looking woman

The use of these visual learning acronyms aims to assist teachers in making learning explicit for their students.

What are WALT and WILF?

Let’s start at the beginning and look at WALT (We Are Learning To) and WILF (What I’m Looking For). These two acronyms were developed as a guide to help teachers identify learning goals and related success criteria at the beginning of each and every lesson. More often than not, teachers do this regardless, but using a visual reminder of your chosen acronyms in the classroom helps both you and your students make this part of the lesson structure.

By creating a display for each subject area – you are more inclined to remember to define each of these for your students. We used our Learning Goal Slips for Whiteboard and some of our editable tray labels to create this vibrant, eye-catching display.

WALT and WILF classroom posters

Let’s unpack these two acronyms further as these are the most popular and easiest to implement.

WALT (also referred to as ‘learning intention’) is all about outlining the objectives of the lesson. What will your students be learning about? What’s the learning goal or aim of the lesson? Make sure you use child-friendly language and focus on the learning outcome.

For example, a writing lesson goal may be – use descriptive language to write imaginative texts.

WILF (sometimes called ‘success criteria’) is all about what the student needs to do, include, or focus on in order to fulfill the learning outcome (WALT). Make sure you include detailed information about your expectations of the students.

For example, the success criteria for the above writing goal may be – evidence of adjectives, metaphors, and extensive vocabulary within your writing.

WALT and WILF classroom posters

Here’s another WALT and WILF example:

WALT – Write a story starter.

WILF – Describe the setting. Describe the characters. Explain the problem. Use powerful adjectives.

What About TIB (This Is Because)

TIB is another acronym prompter that could also be included during the learning process. TIB stands for This Is Because. This acronym is all about allowing the students to clearly understand and make connections between skills and learning to real-world problems and applying their knowledge for a particular concept.

It’s important that your students know ‘why’ they are learning a particular concept and not just ‘because they have to’.

WALT and WILF posters for the classroom

We have a collection of explicit teaching acronym posters that you could laminate and use a whiteboard marker to complete at the beginning of each lesson.

Explicit Teaching Acronyms Galore

We have covered the three main acronyms that you could introduce into your classroom tomorrow with ease. There’s no surprise that each and every school and teacher likes to use their own acronyms or language. This explains the variety of acronyms and terms we have included in our learning goal resources for the classroom – which can get overwhelming. Rest assured – you don’t have to use all of these – in fact, we would strongly advise you to pick a couple of important acronyms and stick with the same language so your students don’t get confused and overwhelmed themselves.

WALT and WILF classroom posters

Our Learning Goal Posters and Learning Goal Slips for Whiteboard include the following acronyms:

Most popular:

  • WALT (We Are Learning To…)
  • WILF (What I’m Looking For…)
  • TIB (This Is Because…)

Others to consider:

  • WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like…)
  • WILL (What It Looks Like…)
  • TILT (Today I Learned That…) and TILT (Today I Learned To…)
  • WINK (What I Now Know…)

Other ways to say the same thing:

  • LI (Learning Intention…) – this is just like WALT
  • SC (Success Criteria…) – this is just like WILF

Making Learning Visible in the Classroom

An important component of visible learning in the classroom is the use of these acronyms to aid the learning process in your classroom. These acronyms help teachers to be transparent and engage their students in the learning process. Which, in turn, your students will have a sense of ownership over their learning.

It’s important to check with your school and their chosen acronyms that they use. Consistency is key both in your classroom, but also what language the other teachers are going to use in years to come.

WALT and WILF classroom posters

We’d love to hear from you and what acronyms your school uses to make learning visible in your classroom.

Share your experiences in the comments section of this blog.

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