In Part 1 of this 3 part series, I unpacked the positioning of Personalised Planning. In doing so, I established that it should take on two forms:
- First and foremost it should be manifested as a default level of practice afforded to all students via quality, differentiated teaching and learning – a contextual, responsive and differential form of support;
- Secondly, as a purposeful and specific product to communicate an evidence-based, informed response to personalised adjustments and modifications – non-negotiables that allow a student to equitably access and participate in all aspects of education.
When considering Personalised Planning as a specific product, it is important for the framing to be centred on an inclusive purpose and mindset. So often, plans are written from a deficit perspective where every characteristic of the student is pathologised, analysed and managed. This medical model mindset does nothing but pick fault and lists reasons that are masked as responses. This perpetuates failure to identify and separate real functional impacts from stereotypes, bias and general personality and developmental characteristics.
Instead, the purpose of the product should simply be about equity – supporting a student to access, participate and learn in a way that does not result in discrimination or hardship. It should be about valuing the student as an active consumer worthy of high-expectation and commensurate outcomes. It should focus on corroboration over opinion, and see impacts as solvable challenges relating to pedagogy and the environment, and not as limitations of the individual.
In order for this to be achieved, it is important to consider who contributes. For me, the most valuable contributor is the student – the person in personalised. The old slogan of ‘nothing about us without us’ could not be more fitting. Empowering the student to have autonomy and input into decisions about them is not only dignifying, but also enhances the potential for success. I recognise that capturing student voice may be difficult in some circumstances for a number of reason, but this aspect should not go by without authentic attempt.
In addition to Classroom Teacher input, parents should also be positioned as partners in the process. Their input, expertise and lived experience relating to their child is invaluable.
The Personalised Planning process should not be a competition about whose perspective is more important, nor that one side is right and the others are wrong. Instead, it should be a collaboration that draws together the strengths of differing perspective and insight.
This powerful collaboration should be used to drive an inquiry into the educational experiences of the student:
- What is the vision of the student?
- What problems of practice and impacts are being experienced?
- What can and should be addressed at a whole-school and whole-class level?
- What should be responded to in quality, differentiated teaching and learning?
- What needs to be addressed at a more personalised level?
- How can these impacts be identified and prioritised?
- What evidence-based actions can be taken?
- What is the plan?
- Who is responsible for what?
- When will it be reviewed?
- What’s working? What’s not? How do we know?
There is no point to any Personalised Planning if it is not responsive, and if it is not meeting the need. Check it, address it, and change it. You don’t always have to get it right the first time. Look to the student as your main marker for success. Their feedback and outcomes is what determines the difference between assumptions on a page and precise personalised, effective investment.
The true power of Personalised Planning is not in the product itself, but instead in the process and in the impact.
*This is the second part of a 3 part blog series that explores Personalised Planning