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Tool: The Individualized Development Plan (IDP) and principles of adult learning

Question: How can principals help beginning teachers set goals for the IDP that will reflect principles of adult learning?

Purpose of this tool: This tool features several questions that you can raise with new teachers when they are developing their IDPs. It is meant to help you ensure that their work for their IDPs is closely related to their teaching responsibilities and that it reflects knowledge of adult learning.

How to use this tool: As you and a beginning teacher work out her or his IDP, go through the Yes/No questions together as a way of evaluating your tentative plan.

Background: Section 3A of the Tenure Act in Michigan requires new teachers to complete Individualized Development Plans, but it does not specify that particular methods be used in devising such plans. The language was purposely left open in order for districts to have flexibility in determining how this function will be conducted. At the same time, the legislation makes clear that the IDP plan is to be conducted in consultation with the beginning teacher. In addition, it is expected to be based on relevant goals and objectives.

As a principal, there are several Yes/No questions to consider in working with new teachers to devise IDPs:

  • Will this work lead to improved student achievement?
  • Will it increase the new teacher’s commitment to this school and to the profession?
  • Will it support the beginning teacher’s instructional performance?
  • Will it promote their personal and professional well-being?
  • Will it help the new teacher learn more about the school culture?
  • Will it address the entry-level standards and required induction plan for Michigan teachers?

In addition, it can be useful for school leaders to keep these principles of adult learning in mind when they are helping beginning teachers create their IDPs:

  • Learning is an active process that occurs over time.
  • It is driven by the learner and often focuses on issues that are meaningful to them.
  • It is typically experimental by nature.
  • It can often be fueled by rich, diverse and accessible sources of information.
  • Inquiring into one’s assumptions (e.g., about students, assessment, classroom management, etc.) can deepen the learning process.

More about IDPs