Why would we ever let students lead a conference? After a long year full of hard work, students and teachers want to showcase what they have been doing all year. Teachers and schools always invite parents into classrooms at the beginning of the year for Open House. What about at the end of the year? With student-led conferences, students get to show parents how successful their year has been, by showcasing their work. This also gives parents an opportunity to get back in the classroom and see their child’s learning improvements first-hand.
Why have a student-led conference?
Students work hard to hit their next targets in our classrooms each day. Parents rarely have the opportunity to come into the classroom and see how far their child has come from the beginning of the year. Student-led conferences can fill the gap. This can be an End of the Year Showcase for your students. Let the students take the lead. Let them decide what they want to showcase to their parents and how they want to show them. This is more meaningful than a presentation or just a meeting.
How to set students up for a successful conference
Throughout the year, have your students collect their work in student portfolios. When is comes time to start planning the student-led conference, have each student pick 2-3 pieces from their portfolios to showcase. Give students the opportunity to brainstorm on how they want to present the information to their parents. The goal should be for students to have a sense of responsibility and ownership of the night, and for them to take hold of it and run. Check out our Pinterest board for more ideas on how to have a successful student-led conference: Student-led Conferences.
There are advantages and disadvantages to a student-led conference, but most educators would say the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. For more on student-led conferences and their effectiveness visit: Education World: Student-led conferences: A growing trend