Colleen A. Thoma, PhD

Teacher's Manual

 Teacher's Manual


The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction




Lesson Plan Resources

Self-Determination and Standards of Learning



Self-determination Pilot Project

The overall goal of this project is to develop a process for assuring that Virginian students with disabilities leave high school with self-determination skills.  Research on individuals with disabilities has demonstrated that those with high self-determination skills do better in life in many ways.  They do better in general education classrooms where they’re included with students without disabilities.  As adults, they’re more likely to be employed, to be admitted and remain in college, and to live where they want.  For these reasons, the development of a process for teaching self-determination skills has been the main way that Virginia is meeting the mandate of the Olmstead Decision. 


We will be using a set format, called the Self-determined learning model of instruction, that can be used in a variety of settings, with students with a wide range of strengths and needs, and can be guided by a variety of people (teachers, peers, parents, etc.). 


As a participant in this project, you will be expected to implement the self-determined learning model of instruction.  You will work with a minimum of five students in at least two different environments. You will receive training, resources, examples, and guidelines for making this work for your students.  In return, we will ask you to do the self-determination scale assessment with students as a pre-test/post-test measure, share lesson plans that you revise to include self-determination and/or videotape examples of students working through the process, and provide feedback along the way as we refine the process to share with others across Virginia.


The first part of the process is a full day training.  During that training, you will:

  1. Receive training on self-determination (what it is, what are the core component skills, and why we’re focusing on self-determination)

  2. Receive training on the self-determined learning model of instruction with an example of how to use it for:

    1. Whole class/academic focus

    2. Individual transition goal focus

    3. Individual academic goal focus

    4. Revise current lesson plan or goal (Please bring an example of a student goal or academic lesson plan that you can work on!).

  3. Receive copies of the self-determination assessment scale with instructions on how to use this with students in your class

  4. Learn about the resource/support processes that will be in place to help you implement the self-determined learning model of instruction in your own school/classroom, including

    1. Blackboard resources

    2. Email or phone contact with Colleen Thoma

    3. Follow-up technical assistance from T-TAC

    4. Money for schools/teachers for planning time, resources, etc.

  5. An overview of the rest of the process

    1. Customizing this for your school needs

    2. Student involvement in assessment

    3. Student involvement/direction in IEP

    4. Sharing your examples, resources with others