School conferences are approaching. Teachers and parents are preparing questions and assessments to review student progress. While some parents will be surprised to hear that their child is leading the conference.
According to Education World, student-led conferences are becoming a growing trend. Teachers, parents, and students are enthusiastic with the results, making student-led conferences a popular choice among schools.
Student-led conferences are showing benefits beginning with kindergarten. Of course there is more prompting from teachers at this age, but the word is that students are doing a great job.
Preparation for Student-Led Conferences
Students will be given responsibility of organizing a conference with their parents. They will review their grades, summarize their strength and weakness, and set goals to improve areas needed. Students organize portfolios of class work to show to their parents. Usually students will be given a guide to check off as they lead the conference. The class will often practice leading conferences by role-playing among peers.
Why Teachers Like Student-Led Conferences
Teachers who participate in student-led conferences see students taking accountability for their learning and have a better understanding of the process. Several students can lead conferences at one time, preventing conferences from running over and into the next conference.
Why Parents Like Student-Led Conferences
Parents and students can take all the time necessary to review grades, portfolios, and class work and student goals. Students give their view why they received the grades they did. Parents gain better perspective by hearing their child’s point of view.
Why Children Like Student-Led Conferences
Most students like being involved with the conferences. They share their learning experience with their parents first hand and are not left wondering what was said about them. In addition, struggling students can find positive information to share with parents. For example, students that didn’t achieve high grades may have done well on essays or other class work. They will have the opportunity to share those positive marks with parents.
The Disadvantage of Student-Led Conferences
Although parent attendance is higher with student-led conferences, students become disappointed when parents can’t attend. Teachers will often reschedule a time parents can make-up the conference or send the student’s portfolio home.
Some parents prefer a teacher’s report of their child’s work. Teachers will often accommodate another conference in person or by phone.
Most teachers feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. They see students taking accountability for their work and having a better idea of how the whole learning process works for them. Further, it’s rewarding to witness students taking pride in their learning and themselves.