Teachers teaching and learners learning: Part 4

Individual Learning Plans…

…do what they say on the tin. A carefully thought out Individual Learning Plan (ILP) will help a teacher to look at the growth trajectory of an individual pupil; then plan and track, his or her learning and be able to say at any point in time how well (or otherwise) they are progressing towards their learning outcomes.

Used effectively, an ILP can be a fantastic motivational tool for pupils.

Practice makes perfect

Over the Christmas break, I caught sight of this interesting TED Talk from Carol Dweck and thought I’d include it in this series of blog posts about learner outcomes.  I believe Carol reminds us of a very important aspect of goal setting and progress tracking which is often lost in the busy, day-to-day considerations of keeping on top of planning for a tracking progress. In summary, her philosophy is that because young minds are growing, not static, their learning goals should reflect this. Therefore, if we give pupils static goals, then that defined target is what most of them will aim at but lacking the motivation to go further, will to easily give up. But, if we keep encouraging pupils to keep growing and to keep reaching for goals which may seem out of reach, then as long as they approach them with a ‘I can do this -but not quite yet..’ sort of attitude, instead of ‘I can’t do this because these goals are too hard and always will be’ mentality -then the goals are more likely to become within their grasp. Carol Dweck’s research shows that the best, most improved results, were achieved by pupils whose learning goals or outcomes were created as a pathway through the process of learning -not those who were only ever praised for static outcomes rather than effort.

The moral of this: the inclusion of effort based goals alongside outcome based goals allows a natural confidence and engagement with the act of learning to grow in support of the very progress being nurtured towards achievement of individual learning outcomes. As very wise lady (my Grandmother) once said, ‘practice makes perfect’.   🙂  

So, how does the ILP work?

To be absolutely honest – it’s not such an easy thing to describe how an ILP works without actually taking a walk through an example in action. So here’s one I made earlier…..

The teacher here, Sam Austin, is focusing on one pupil  – Sue Gerrard.  Sue’s progress is being tracked via a series of Computing ‘I can’ statements and motivational effort goals in her ILP.  Sam has clicked open the ILP, the Computing and effort goals are already in place and here is the screen where he selects Sue:

Fronter ILP goals

 When he clicks on Sue’s name, he can immediately see all the learning outcomes set for her in this subject and where he has already marked the status of her progress. He can add observations to this at any time until he (or another administrator -say a subject leader) chooses to ‘lock’ the ILP.

Individual Learning Plan

 From the same screen, Sue’s teacher can also see progress with effort based goals. A single click on a goal criterion will mark that goal in blue. When Sue logs on, she can see where the teacher is marking her for effort in class, for her homework, speaking & listening and teamwork goals:

Fronter ILP effort goals

The teacher decides to capture this record and email a copy to Sue’s parent. A single click produces a PDF which can be emailed directly to the parent:

Fronter ILP export button

This extract from the PDF is what the parent sees:

Fronter ILP PDF report

The ILP tool in Fronter has a range of other functionality, including viewing and batching actions on whole class records, but used in its most straightforward form as shown here it is a very quick, easy and reliable way to keep a track of any individual pupil’s progress towards achieving their learning outcomes.

 Tweet or comment on the blog to let me know how your school is using the ILP to track learner outcomes – I’d be really interested to hear from you. 🙂

Jane Harris


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