Friday, April 24, 2009

2009 Student Led Conferences

Student-led Conferences have been a staple of Manitoba Education for over a decade. It is a valuable experience for parents. Student-led conferences put the student in the drivers seat. They show their parents a portfolio of their work that shows how they have grown as a learner. I love student-led conferences. Students and parents interacting about learning. Think of these conferences as intensive dinner conversation answering the question, "What did you do in school today?"
Dinner Table
http://www.flickr.com/photos/niinac/2873854975/

Participation in Student-led conferences are higher than in traditional parent-teacher interviews. Students enjoy showing their learning to their parents. Parents enjoy seeing what their students have done. Many more parents are able to attend Student-led conferences because of the flexible timetable. We provide access to the school and the parent and child pick the 30 to 60 minute slots that they need. Often we will see up to 90% of the parents on these nights.

For the Grade 8 students they have created Electronic Portfolios to showcase their work and learning. This provides flexibility for parents. Those who cannot come into the school have access to the portfolio at home. Now these conferences are available to all students. Having access available to parents at home is important because many of the parents at our school work shift work or multiple jobs and freeing themselves up for up to three hours if they have more than one student is hard. Believe me I know with three children of my own.

The conferences are over and 24 of the 35 students attended from my home room. Overall we had over 110 students attend out of 145. The remaining students will receive a letter home explaining the student led process to parents. Students will participate at home and bring back confirmation to us that the conference took place.

Now to finish the year and prepare for next year. A job well done.

6 comments:

Lauren Rosen said...

I too am a firm believer in student-led conferences but from this posting it sounds like you missed the best part of the experience. It sounds like students and parents meet w/o the teacher necessarily being there to sit and observe/listen in as the student describes what he has learned, what was difficult, what he/she could work on, and what was really great about learning in that classroom. As a teacher you learn a ton about where your students are and how they perceive themselves and their learning. This in turn can alter your approach to teaching to better meet your students learning needs. If you as a teacher aren't present, you miss the most important part, IMO. (I do recognize that parents on shift work, etc. may not be able to come at a prescribed time but for those who can, it really is important for the teacher to try to be there to listen and learn.)

Mr. H said...

Lauren thanks for the comment. Before the student do the student led conference the do many dry runs with the teachers and their classmates. The students if possible bring their parents into the school. I think when you consider that this is a Junior High School we have over 75% attending at the school. Only 25% would be doing the conference at home. For this 25% doing the conference at home is a necessity due to parental conflict with the times scheduled for the interviews.

Thanks again. I appreciate the comment.

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natasha said...
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Anonymous said...

Student-led conferences were the greatest step we ever made toward making students be responsible for their own education. Some parents want to blame the teachers for child's lack of progress, this process makes everyone aware of the expectations are and who is responsible.