Student led conferences were beneficial to my classroom because they helped me to prepare for conferences a little earlier, empowered my students, and taught them life skills.
The benefits for students are increased:
responsibility for grades and classroom behaviors
ability to present information to others
Teachers often deal with parents who don’t require that their child take responsibility for their learning, attack you, or want an explanation if their child is not doing well. Student led conferences take some of the awkwardness out of this. A good template will include some thinking from the student about why they are not doing well in some areas and why they are doing better in others. This type of self reflection encourages the student to take responsibility for their part in the learning experience.
Having your student lead their own conference and prepare for it covers reading, writing, critical thinking and public speaking skills. It also takes the anxiety away from students who are wondering what their teacher is going to say. With student led conferences, they already know what is going to be said. Students are honest with themselves, parents, and teachers, and the result is a better team effort beneficial to their success.
Student led conference tips:
Give students their grades and a STUDENT LED CONFERENCE FORM – there are several to download in my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY.
Make sure your conference form is straightforward and to the point.
Model how to complete to form with the example of yourself.
Encourage students to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses. Remind them that you can always use your strengths to improve your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses and our job is to work to make them better.
Encourage students to keep their presentations to under 5 minutes.
Have students prepare during reading and/or writing.
Complete a conference with the student to practice and review what they have written.
Have students practice with peers.
If some students do not have a parent coming to a conference – have them present their conference to you or to a peer.
Leave time to discuss any other concerns/praises with the parent after the student presents.
If student led conferences are new to you, try them out with a few students before implementing them with your entire class.
Take a minute to download the free student led conference forms from my FREE RESOURCE CENTER. If you haven’t thought of doing student led conferences before this could be a great addition to your classroom. If you are already using these, there may be some different templates for you to use!
Let me know what you think. Do you use student led conferences? Would you use them?