You should have received a letter from your child about the Student Led Conferences next Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th March and how to book a time online. School will be finishing early at 12.30pm. Please make sure that your child is picked up early next Wednesday and Thursday.
What is a student led conference?
A student led conference is a meeting run by the student for his or her parents, entirely focused on the student's recent learning. During the conference the student presents work in different curriculum areas, discussing the process of learning and the progress made to date.
Why have student led conferences?
St Mary MacKillop Catholic School has been involved in a number of initiatives over the years, all focused on improving student achievement. Through this involvement our experiences confirm all the research we have read — developing students' ability to talk about their learning and their progress makes a difference!
How do student led conferences work?
You will be involved in a variety of activities during the time — looking at samples of learning, talking about goals and what your child, you and the teacher might do to support these goals, looking at work around the classroom.
What will I need to do to support my child?
- Each child will run their conference so all parties need to attend this.
- Book a time and put it in your diary (details notified in school newsletter).
- Check the prompts and important things to remember list (below).
- Come — with your child.
- Listen — your child will do most of the talking.
- S/he will discuss with you the expected achievement levels, his/her progress towards these levels and current learning goals.
- Prompt to support your child if necessary.
- Enjoy the opportunity to see your child in his/her key learning environment.
- Celebrate your child's progress to date.
- Continue to celebrate your child's successes and support their goals.
- What were you learning to do in this piece of work?
- What were the steps you went through to learn this?
- What helped you to learn this?
- What do you need to learn next?
- What are you most proud of? Why?
- Tell me where you are in … reading/writing/numeracy
- Which area of learning do you find easiest? Why?
- Which area of learning do you find trickiest? Why?
- What could we do together to help you with this learning?
Your child will run this conference—not you, not the teacher! Your child must be here.
As part of their regular learning, all students have been putting considerable time and energy into preparing for this. If you cannot attend, please arrange for another significant adult in your child’s life to come to the conference.
The conference is about learning—not behaviour or social issues. (If you or the teacher have concerns here, discussions should already have been held, or another appointment time to be made).
Make arrangements for the care of any pre-schoolers in your family. It would be unfair to all students in the room to have any distractions as they share their learning.
The research about student led conferences
Professor John Hattie (formerly University of Auckland) recently 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)
Research also shows parental involvement in schools and classrooms has a positive impact on children’s learning (Bastiani; Epstein).
In helping to strengthen the partnership between the learner, the teacher and the parent, we believe student led conferences promote some ways learning can also be supported at home. This is a key goal in the introduction of National Standards in New Zealand schools.
- Absolum, M. (2006) Clarity in the Classroom, Auckland, Hodder.
- Bastiani, J. (1988) How Many Parents Did You See Last Night?' A critical look at some of the problems of evaluating home/school practice.' In J. Bastiani (ed.) Parents and teachers 2: From policy to practice. Windsor: nfer Nelson 206–218.
- Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, October, 139–148.
- Epstein, J. L. (1986) Parents’ reactions to teacher practices of parent involvement. Elementary School Journal, 86, 277–294.
- Hattie, J. (2009) Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.