One of the tenets of the 21st century learning report (created by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills), is that students should learn how to learn and become life long learners. I think one of the things that we could teach students is to create Personal Learning Plans (PLPs), or even Personal Life Plans. Part of the learning process is evaluating where you are, setting learning goals, and moving to achieve those goals. The PLP is a formal way of doing this. Usually PLPs (or ILPs - individual learning plans) are set up by teachers, sometimes involving the parents and students, for the students as a way of planning to help a student in school. I think that if we taught students to create their own PLPs, it might be a way for them to feel ownership of their school work. It could help provide them with the organizational and tracking skills to assess whether or not they are making progress and how much progress they have made toward a particular goal.
Beyond this, the PLP could be a Personal Life Plan. Students could set themselves some life goals, assess where they are and make long term plans for achieving those life goals. If we are to aim at teaching children how to learn and how to achieve their goals, then why stop this idea at the education level? One thing a PLP can do is set priorities for behavior. This could be a huge step toward awareness for students, not only in their school life, but in their actions in general. Another thing a PLP can do is make the user aware of how they are spending their time. If a student thinks they study hard, but realizes through the lack of progress on the PLP that they are really only spending a few hours a week, they can change that behavior to do better. Likwise with life goals, if they think they are progressing toward some goal, but realize that they are not acquiring the skills needed or moving as quickly as they had hoped, they can tell that their actual behavior does not match with plans or goals they have set. This could be a very useful tool and process for students to learn.
Do you have a PLP? Do you think that they are effective tools for goal achievement?