Parent-teacher conferences are traditionally done where the either the student is not present or the student has a passive role in the process. The meeting is traditionally led by the teacher sharing information about the student's growth or progress to the parent. However, imagine the impact on the student and parent if we switch the roles around and allow the STUDENT to lead the conference?
Student led parent conferences allow for the student to foster more independence, responsibility and learn how to self-advocate. Providing students with the opportunity to have discussions with their parents about their successes as well as struggles puts these skills in practice in a collaborative and supportive way.
The student would first prepare for the conference. This includes establishing work samples through a portfolio that they would like to share with their parents. The student in conjunction with the teacher would also present an analysis of their performance in class. This allows the student to practice critical thinking and analysis skills. The student would develop goals to present to their parents that they plan to accomplish for the remaining of the grading period or school year. The student can practice their presentation with their teacher prior to the conference to receive feedback and build confidence.
During the conference, the student would make the introductions, present the information and answer questions from their parents. The teacher can answer any follow up questions the parents may have.
This process is age appropriate for middle-school students and higher. Giving students the responsibility to communicate their successes and their struggles with their parents can foster independent leaders who can share their thoughts, feelings, needs, and accomplishments. How empowering is that?!
Charter Support Unit