PLPs are for anyone who can provide access, enhance meaning, increase support, and expand learning for students. Wait! That means all of us!
- Families and caregivers. Student-led PLP conferences often help families see their child in new and positive ways, which can be helpful when many are starting to turn away from adults and toward peers.
- Community members. PLPs reveal common ground between community members and students. They expand notions of where learning happens and recognize the expertise within the community. They can also showcase young adolescents as assets and citizens of their community!
- Students. PLPs help students learn about each other, nurture relationships, and develop a sense of belonging within the group. Students feel known as individuals and feel more authority over their learning.
- And, of course, teachers. PLPs enable teachers to learn about students, help them manage the many learning pathways in their care, and assess students’ growth.
Food for thought
Middle grades student Julia attends Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School, in South Burlington, Vermont. She used her PLP to document the passion she felt in recreating a photo taken during one of her gymnastics routines, in a highly unusual medium: button art. But that wasn’t the end of it.
In her PLP, Julia documented why she chose buttons; her parents had begun a portrait of her as a small child, working in pennies. She felt a closeness to them through the button art.
And all of that was available to her parents in her PLP. She also brought it up at her student-led conference, declaring herself overjoyed to have something to talk to her parents about in that arena.
See, Julia’s audience mattered!
Now tell us
Let’s tell the world. Take it to Twitter. Choose one of the questions and respond to this tweet.
- How do your students share their learning journeys with others?
- Who are the natural PLP audiences in your context?
- How could you create an authentic audience for PLPs?
Hey amazing educators – Choose one of the questions and reply to this tweet!
-How do your students share their learning journeys with others?
-Who are the natural PLP audiences in your context?
-How could you create an authentic audience for PLPs?#middleschool #VTED
— UVM Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education (@innovativeEd) November 5, 2019
Next, let’s focus on knowing students well.