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Here at Helensville School, we hold Student Led Conferences twice a year instead of the traditional Parent Teacher Meetings. These meetings are empowering for our children and help them to really understand their learning.
What is a Student Led Conference?
A Student Led Conference (SLC) is a meeting run by the student for their whānau, entirely focused on the student’s recent learning. During the conference the student presents work from different curriculum areas, discussing the process of learning and the progress made to date.
Why Have Student Led Conferences?
Research shows that one of the ways to improve student achievement is developing students’ ability to talk about their learning and their progress - it makes a difference.
Professor John Hattie published a revised list of the most effective influences on student achievement which identifies student self - reporting as the most significant indicator linked to raised student achievement. Two other international researchers, Black & Wiliam further comment, “the process of students reflecting on their learning, through effective questioning that promotes the articulation of student thinking, is integral to classroom assessment practices that enhance student learning.”
‘If the focus is to be kept on learning, and the ownership of the learning with the child, then the best person to talk about the learning is the learner’... ‘Not only is the student the best person to tell their parents what they have learnt, but if we believe that students build their knowledge by communicating what they know, then providing an opportunity for the students to tell their family what they know can significantly assist with that learning.' Absolum, (2006)
How Do They Work?
Conferences can last up to 45 minutes, although you do not have to be this long if your child has finished sharing their learning. Four or five Student Led Conferences will be held at the same time in the child’s classroom. Whānau can ‘flow’ into a conference slightly earlier or later if the teacher indicates there is space when they arrive. Each child should have a basic agenda that they will follow.
Whānau could be involved in a variety of activities during the time - looking at samples of learning, doing an activity to support learning, talking about goals and what their child, they and the teacher might do to support these goals, looking at work around the classroom. At some point during the conference, the teacher will check in to help support but remember your child leads the conference.
Have a read at some of the feedback that we have received from our children, parents and teachers about how they have found these Student Led Conferences: