Yesterday I had the privilege of teaching in Year 6. In preparation for the student led conferences we discussed the purpose of the day. It was interesting to get the perspective of students who were both new to our school and old to this process. Those students who have recently joined our school were both nervous and excited. They were not sure how their parents would respond. I assured them that the student led conference is about celebrating their achievements, some of which would be grade based i.e. Very good/excellent, whilst others would be character strength based i.e. persistence, perseverance etc.
Normally when you have done something before, there is a possibility that it might lose its shine. However, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Year 6 students talk about the pride they feel in sharing their achievements and the very real feeling of genuine love and pride they receive from their parents. One student even mentioned that it is their favourite day of the year. I decided to ask why this was the case, to which they responded, it is the only day of the year, where for one hour I have Mum and Dad all to myself.
The main aims of the AISHK Student Led – Parent Teacher conferences are:
- To celebrate student achievement
- To foster open dialogue between students, parents and teachers
- To give students the opportunity to reflect on their achievements
- To encourage students to accept personal responsibility for their learning
- To develop students’ organisational and communication skills
As the name implies, these are conferences led by the students themselves. The conference lasts for up to an hour and there may be 2 or 3 other families in the room. Parents come to the conference to become more informed and celebrate their children’s learning progress. During the session, students show their parents their Learning Journey and around their classroom. They also discuss what they are learning in the different subject areas of the curriculum. At some point during the conference, the teacher joins the discussion and takes time to discuss the child’s progress, to review the learning journey and to reflect and decided upon on goals for the remainder of the year. The goals will be SMART, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
What are some of the benefits of a student led conference?
Student led conferences provide a setting for parents to learn more about their children, the school and their child’s teacher. Being in the classroom with several other families and students gives the parents a chance to glimpse inside the classroom environment. They can see the physical structure of the learning environment, examine through the eyes of their child their areas of strength and further growth, and to see their children interact socially with the teacher. Within this context, parents see an accurate picture of their children’s growth and development. It is authentic feedback, where the child is fully involved at all levels in the process.
It takes a village to raise a child and it is our privilege to be part of yours. In today’s world, most people are time poor. An hour out of someone’s day can be a significant commitment. However, it has been wonderful to stroll around the school and see the leaders of tomorrow in action today, taking the reins to showcase their learning. I am sure as parents your hearts sang today with pride and you enjoyed every minute genuinely engaged in conversations about learning with your child .
Thank you to our teachers who meticulously prepared the students for the 3 Way conferences today and for their ongoing dedication in meeting each students individual needs. To all of our parents, thank you for making this a priority.
Cameron Reed | Dean of Studies, Primary