Student Led Conferences have become the norm in most schools around the world as they provide an opportunity for students to address their own learning in the context of their adult stakeholders. During the conference, the student explains and demonstrates what they are learning in class, focusing on new skills and knowledge that they have mastered during the year. An example might be a student showing several drafts of a writing assignment, presenting how sensory detail was added in the later drafts, giving the paper greater impact on the reader. The student would take to time to explain a specific example of an improved sentence, which they had written. These specific examples and improvements would be presented for each course, giving the student time to personally reflect on how they are being successful in class.
In addition to academics, students also discuss their goals and to what extent they are meeting the acceptable guidelines of our Success Orientations. Goal planning is an important part of the first conference in the fall as teachers shared newly created classroom goals with their students, based on evidence from the MAP or perceived difficulties with the group. Over the last several months, students have been working on these goals, striving to meet expectations. This winter conference is an opportunity for them to share where they are at on the spectrum of success with their personal and class goals.
In the end, the conferences serve as a chance for the student to take true ownership of his/her learning and attitudes. By turning the microphone of the conference over to the student, we are allowing him/her to not only show their strengths, but to experience the support of all during moments of personal vulnerability. Students, parents and teachers all are hoping for success in school, and this meeting helps each to realign their vision toward student success.