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
@virtualjane

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Teachers Teaching and Learners Learning: Part 2

Fronter and Learning Outcomes – the Goal Tool

In the first post in this mini-series about Learning Outcomes, I started to look at the Fronter goal tool and how it could be a useful element in lesson planning, target setting and tracking pupil progress.

Now, I’d like to look at a few more details of the goal too. There’s so much a teacher and student can get from this tool – that this will be just a taster. I’d love to hear from any teachers or pupils who use the goal tool regularly as I’m certain there are as many ways to use this tool as there are teachers and pupils in fact.

First, let’s get the mechanics out of the way – follow these three steps to creating a Fronter room based goal:

Step 1
Go to the room where you want to set some learning outcomes expressed as goals. Click Room icon on left menu, then select Customise tool package.

How to use the Goal Tool in Fronter Image

Step 2
Click New tool.

How to use the Goal Tool in Fronter Image step 2

Step 3
Select the tool Goal and Save

How to use the Goal Tool in Fronter Image step 3

Setting a goal

Ok – that’s the ‘where-to-find-it’ bit quickly out of the way. Now for the nitty-gritty. Think of a goal you need to set – it could be a very personal goal for a particular pupil struggling with organisational capabilities, i.e. – ‘Remember to hand your homework in every week for a term’, or, a whole class subject based goal developed from your lesson plan, such as – ‘Describe the character of Pip using evidence from the novel Great Expectations’ – or any variation which could apply to any aspect of school life from behaviour management to work experience targets.

Here’s a goal in the process of being made by a primary school teacher for her pupils. The children are to work on designing a Bug Hotel and the teacher  wants them to think hard about the processes involved in planning a creative design topic and she will use the goal tool to capture progress with a sequence of planning activities she has already set up in their Fronter Eco Room.

Fronter goal tool

Tracking the goal

Later, after the teacher has saved the goal and the pupils are busy working through their Bug Hotel design plans, she selects the goal tool in the Eco Room, clicks on the pupil or pupils she wants to focus on (in this case just one pupil – Sue Gerrard) and then tracks this goal through, evaluating each stage of the goal thread as she goes.

The goal is shown in the same Eco Room area as all of the topic based activities and can be linked directly to specific assignments and forums. The teacher can run a PDF / print off of the whole class record, or of course just for selected groups or individuals at any point during the tracking of progress, so that achievement can be reviewed, discussed and acted upon. This is useful for alerting the teacher and pupil in instances where progress is falling behind expectations, or alternatively, where a pupil maybe getting ahead and extended work and associated ‘stretched’ goals are needed. This facility is also very useful for sharing progress towards learning outcomes with parents, either by email as an attachment or as a discussion document at Parents’ Evening.

Fronter goal tool

In the view of the same goal below, the pupil, Sue Gerrard, has also logged on to check whether her teacher has evaluated her learning goal for this topic. Sue has clicked on the ‘I can’ statement  which she also believes she has achieved. The goal shows in yellow now to show this is where the pupil rates her own progress towards her learning outcomes, but has a blue surround to show that the teacher has also marked her at this same point.

Bug Hotel goal tool 5

Sometimes of course,  this being the real world, there is mismatch between the pupil and teacher’s views regarding progress made. In Fronter, this shows up as a very visual signal on the goal tool, i.e. – the yellow pupil evaluation is far adrift in the ‘I can’ goal sequence from the blue colour block of the teacher’s evaluation – and immediately alerts the teacher to the fact that a discussion might be useful.

Fronter goal tool

More info

To find more info about how the goal tool can work in Fronter, follow these links:

 http://www.fronter.co.uk/teachers/set-goals-for-learning-objectives ;  or,  http://help.fronter.com/en/fronter/index.php/Goals

For London schools who would like a trainer/consultant to visit school (free of charge) to talk through the using the goal tool in school, please contact Fronter at training.pearsonfronter@pearson.com.

For schools outside of London who would like a free webinar on the topic of setting up and using goals for tracking learning, please contact training.pearsonfronter@pearson.com.

Coming up next time

Fronter goals are just one of many tools for busy teachers to track pupils’ progress towards their personal learning outcomes.  In the next blog post in this mini-series about setting, tracking and measuring learning outcomes, I’ll be sharing some thoughts and observations about schools which use a range of other Fronter tools in their everyday practice to support teachers teaching and learners learning.

Don’t forget – I’ll be pleased to hear your thoughts about Fronter and learning outcomes, so do get in touch via the blog comment box or on Twitter.

Jane Harris
@virtualjane