A Guide to Student-Led Conferences

This typically refers to a form of parent-teacher meeting where students take the floor, giving vivid updates to their parents on their learning process and progress. The reports tell the kind of learner each child is and how personalized learning has worked for each of them.

Student-led conferences offer several benefits. First, this kind of meeting format promotes collaboration between school and home. When a student explains what has occurred by way of academic success or lack thereof, it minimizes the opportunity to assign the responsibility to teachers or parents if the student isn’t succeeding. Also, placing the onus on a student to explain their progress helps build the accountability and responsibility necessary for them to sustain or improve academic success.

The student needs to reflect on what is required to achieve academic success or discuss what they need or must do to improve. Another key benefit of these conferences is the skill of goal development that a student must employ to start the process. When the student sets goals, they likely take a personal interest in monitoring and achieving them.

Educators can institute student-led conferences in different ways depending on the class size, layout, and structure of the school. However, regardless of the format used, there’re two key elements that should always be present.

All participants (student, teacher, and parents) need to understand their roles clearly for these conferences to be effective. Students need to facilitate the discussion, demonstrate their work, and communicate their learning objectives with parents. Teachers act as a mediator between students and parents. They also need to take some time out to prepare students for these conferences. Parents should come prepared to talk with and listen to their children. Schools can use newsletters to inform parents about student-led conferences in detail and their role.

The student portfolio is a key component of effective student-led conferences. Portfolios might vary depending on the format of a conference, but they generally include a selection of a student’s work from throughout the year, sheets for setting academic and social goals, and an agenda for the conference. Students should also be encouraged to present sample work they aren’t satisfied with and explain how they might have done better. They can also find examples of areas where they improved their performance during an individual project or unit. Teachers can set aside time regularly throughout the year to help students select the work they’d like to present at the conference.

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