Everyone needs a PLP and an IDP

learner_diagram Image: my-iPlan

In South Australia students develop a PLP as part of Stage 1 SACE (South Australian Certificate of Education). We  can work in different ways towards that from the time they walk into a school because it is not something which can be suddenly arranged and produced in Year 11. It is learning about organisation, capabilities, possibilities, collaboration. There are skills to be learned which help create an effective PLP. This provides foundation skills for life long learning and participation in one’s own development. Students can learn they are responsible for what happens to them and their future and that they can work positively towards that . They also realise helping others helps them. A personal learning plan now, though, has an additional meaning of tailored and customised learning. Why not? We live in the age of technology which is ubiquitous. Many of us have the capacity to engage with technology at any time and so can create a personal learning plan whenever we want. We can consider what we want to know and learn, how to go about it and where to get training or skills. How we learn new things has become so much easier and we do not have to be in an educational institution. Creating a PLP is part of a growth mindset. The Individual Development Plan is something I see as different. We have professional conversations at our school, we have Step 9 conversations as part of our system and we have different opportunities to engage with other teachers and our professional organisations. The way I see it , you have a discussion with others about who you are, what you stand for and what you have been doing. You can look at the professional standards, the assessment criteria for the national curriculum or you can use a video clip or article to promote discussion. Others will often see you in a different light. They will shine the light on the shiny spots and dig into the dingey corners. As you speak with them you can be reframing yourself and what you would like to do and achieve. You can say what you were thinking of doing and suddenly you have 10 more things to think about that you had not even considered. I accept it is hard to work 30 students through a PLP and then to look at an IDP would be huge. If we did that for all school staff it would be big! What if we made it a part of the culture? What if there were tools we could use to plan our learning and then our development? What if we learned that we are capable of taking responsibility for it ourselves but we need to be pointed in the right direction and we need opportunities to get feedback and input? The SAT and Self Reflection Tool on the  aitsl  site are good for that sort of thinking and responsibility for your own development. There are things there which we need to collate and promote. We could then go to the next stage of peer review in an online community!

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