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Definition of Student-Led Conferences
A student-led conference is a conference with parents led by the student. The role of the classroom teacher is a facilitator in the conference process. Students lead parents through a discussion of their work and established academic and social goals. The process includes the teacher facilitating several conferences at the same time. The student directs the conversation focused on their work and classroom behavior.
Philosophy and Purpose of Student-Led Conferences
The process of communicating the progress of students to parents must involve students in a meaningful way. For a discussion of student work to be relevant, accurate and complete, students need to be meaningfully engaged in the process. Having students lead a conference with parents is a way to maximize their involvement. The involvement of students in the conferencing process promotes three elements essential to improving student performance in school:
· Relevance; why we are teaching what we are teaching to students
· Responsibility; making the student more responsible for learning
· Reporting to parents how students are progressing in learning
Roles and Responsibilities of Student-Led Conferences
Successful student-lead conferences require changes in the roles that teacher, student and parent have played in traditional parent conferencing. Teachers become facilitators, students become leaders and parents become active listeners and questioners.
Teacher Role: To organize the conference environment and to guarantee success. This includes scheduling, guiding portfolio collection, training students and setting up the conference spaces. The teacher becomes a guide and observer of the conferencing process.
Student Role: Through all stages of the student-led conference process; preparation, implementation and evaluation the student becomes the key participant. The student becomes responsible for working with the teacher to identify strengths, identifying learning needs and collecting evidence to validate learning. The student self-reflection process is missing from traditional conferences. In student-led conferencing as students prepare to conference with their parents they engage in a self reflection process about their achievement and future goals.
Parent Role: Parents become partners in learning when students lead a conference. The opportunity for parents to have one-to-one time with their child focused on learning and achievement is important to the conferencing process. The parents role is to listen.
Effectiveness of Student-Led Conferences
· The student takes responsibility for reporting their learning to parents.
· Students must organize their work and prepare to share what they have learned with parents.
· The student-led conference process increases parent involvement and participation in schools.
· Students engage in self-reflection of the learning process.
· To develop students self evaluation and presentation skills.