Parent Teacher Interviews are the ‘go-to’ structure when it comes to sharing a student’s growth and development with parents. It’s the tried and true method that we’ve all grown-up with. But can you imagine what could be learnt when we remove the “interview”? What will be revealed when you hand the reigns over to the student to curate their own presentation?
We’ve seen a dramatic increase in Student Led Conferences taking place over the last few years as the trend is picked up by innovative and progressive schools around the world. Also, the amount of positive feedback that is being provided after these events have been run is overwhelming. A teacher in Working Constructively with Families stated that Student Led Conference’s “give students, parents, and teachers a better picture of who the student is, what he or she has achieved, and what the student’s future goals may be” 1. While parents have found the conferences “A refreshing and enriching refocus of evaluation.” 2
So let’s have a look at exactly how Student Led Conferences can benefit your school community and how PTO can help you facilitate them.
Teachers play a large role in helping students build their learning portfolio. Providing completed work and working individually with the students allows the teacher to show the students their strengths as well as what might need work.
The conference itself allows the teacher to view the students’ understanding and perspective of the learning environment they are providing and how they can alter their methods to improve learning.
Student Led Conferences are a great opportunity for students to learn and develop a number of life skills, including building self-analysis, presentation and goal-setting abilities.
These skills, alongside the knowledge that a performance showcase is going to be required, is a great recipe to help encourage kids to perform at their best, communicate with their parents, teachers and peers and gain perspective on what they are expected to learn. Often we hear that the first time a parent experiences an Student Led Conference, it is the first time that their children really talk to them about their learning experiences and environment at school. 1
Not only do these conferences ensure student participation, but they offer parents a starting off point for conversation that can easily be by-passed or excused-away at home. With the support of the teacher, parents can get a much more real perspective on how their students are getting by at school. Understanding what is happening at school and in the classroom may offer a number of revelations of positive and negative influences within the child’s life.
Student Led Conferences are a great tool for schools for so many reasons. Implementing them may take a little planning, but they are a great development project for students. Running one or more SLC in a year as well as at least one Parent/Teacher night is a great way to succinctly transfer all communications between the school and parents, and vice versa. Scheduling and booking your Conferences are just as simple as always with PTO and are able to have all the same settings and functions applied. If you would like to talk to our Support Team to find out how your school can get started with Student Led Conferences, please feel free to contact us by clicking here or by calling (02) 4304 3000.
- There are times when it is good for the teacher to relay information to the parent. We have two parent-teacher conferences and one student-led conference. Each serves a different purpose.
- “Parents have commented that it is the first time that their children really talked to them about their work.” Mary Lou Bettez, Teacher, Flat River Middle School Coventry, Rhode Island.
- “A great opportunity for the students to reflect and share what they have learned”
- “The dedication and enthusiasm of the students is obvious.”
- “More dynamic with more participation from everyone.”
- “It is incredible that the students share their goals with us and all of the things that they have learned.”
- “It fits with the schools’ ambient of sharing and community.”
- “Very interesting to see what students are learning in their specialist subject areas through the lens of the IB profile.”
- “Clearly [my daughter] has thought carefully about her strengths and weaknesses as well as her goals.”
- “A refreshing and enriching refocus of evaluation.”
- “The students have grown and have lost their fear in sharing what they have learned with us.”
Educational Leadership, 1996, Working Constructively with Families, Vol.53, 7, Pages 64-68
- “Students seem more open and honest about their performance. I didn’t get the sugar-coated reports from advisors, who tend to present negative aspects in a positive manner.” – Unnamed parent
- Since the student was there in each of his classes, he knows better what he studied. By what he selected to talk about, I got a better idea of what he remembers and enjoys. I feel the student-led conferences empowered students and helped them claim ownership of their education. In our case, it was a responsibility that our student enjoyed. – Unnamed parent
- We’ve found that student-led conferences do a better job of meeting the needs of the young adolescent and increasing student-parent communication. They give students, parents, and teachers a better picture of who the student is, what he or she has achieved, and what the student’s future goals may be. – Unnamed Teacher