Student-led Conferences

The purpose of Student-led Conferences

In the student-led conference format, students, and teachers prepare together, and then students lead the conference while teachers facilitate. “The triad then sits together to review and discuss the work and the student’s progress. The message, once again, is that the students are responsible for their own success.” Student-led conference models vary, but the premise is the same: “This is the student’s moment to share his or her reflections on achievements and challenges.”

Your conferences can have the flexibility to work for you. The goal is to communicate strengths and areas to improve with parents. Students should do MOST of the talking! Having some grade level work to compare is always a good idea, and incorporating technology when you can is encouraged!

These conferences should not be a sit and get a bunch of reports or have parents do activities with students they can do at home! Make it meaningful. What do you/would you want to know or do with your own child?

Role of the Teacher

Teacher responsibilities before the conference

  • Train students on student-led conferencing. The teacher should role-play with the student how a student-led conference should be conducted.
  • Give all students time to practice. The more practice they have, the more confident they will be during the conference.
  • Provide ample time for students to get their desk, folders and notebooks together before the conference.
  • The parents should know that their child will be leading the conference.
  • Send home a parent handout on student-led conferences.

Teacher responsibilities during the conference

  • Teachers should be active in the room. An idea for this year is to be a station to meet with students and their parents, possibly to hand out the grade card if not on your agenda at another time.
  • Teachers should not disengage from the student/parent conference and work on other things. Watch and observe the student and parent interact.
  • Encourage the student to keep focused on his or her checklist.
  • When you have a conversation, be positive and supportive, emphasizing the
  • things the student has accomplished.
  • Encourage parents to fill out Evaluation forms.

Teacher responsibilities after the conference

• Were my students prepared?

• Was I positive with the parents?

• Did I think the conferences were effective?

• What might I have done differently?

• Was it worth the time and preparation?

• Do I have parents who want to schedule a private conference?

• Consider writing a personal note thanking parents for coming to conferences.

Role of the Student

Teacher and student preparation

• The key to a successful Student Led Conference is the successful preparation of the student prior to the conference.

• The student will probably need a form / checklist in order to ensure that he/she has all of the necessary materials for the conference.

• Some students and teachers will create a script for the child so that he/she doesn’t feel intimidated by conducting the conference.

• The student will need to make sure to have his/her work and the necessary questions / prompts ready for his/her parent.

Ideas for student responsibilities during the conference

  • Introductions
  • Agenda to follow. . . Plan for. . .Will students go to centers? What work will they have to demonstrate? Where will this work be located? Are all materials and equipment (if needed) ready? Where will students put their completed work when the conference is over?
  • Review reflection sheet –academic
  • Review behavior/attitude checklist
  • Set personal goals for upcoming weeks