Student-led conferences are an essential step toward giving students and their families a greater voice in the learning process. This alternative to traditional parent-teacher conferences makes the conversation more authentic by putting the student at the center. In addition, student-led conferences support the shift toward a more personalized education system that can be tailored to individual goals, learning styles, and interests.
Putting the Student First
What are student-led conferences? How do they work? In this video, educators and students from districts around New England share how student-led conferences put all learners at the center of their own education.
The Burlington-Winooski Pilot
During the second half of the 2013-2014 school year, several middle and high school teachers from Burlington and Winooski School Districts piloted student-led parent conferences. Participants received support and training from Partnership for Change fellow Beth Brodie around preparing for and facilitating student-led conferences as well as conducting outreach to families. The goals of the pilot were as follows:
- To reach 80% participation among targeted group (i.e. class, learning team)
- To gather data from teachers, students, and parents
There was overwhelming evidence from the pilot that parents felt their child had a clearer understanding of what s/he had learned (81%), that their child was well-prepared (84%), and that their child had gained skills by utilizing this format (84%). The positive feedback received from parents echoed that of the teachers who participated in the pilot. When asked if they would want to return to holding traditional conferences between parents and teacher only, 100% of the participating teachers replied they would never go back.
Moving forward, participants in the study will present learning to their colleagues and the community as well as train other teachers in the 2014-2015 school year.
To learn more about the results of the pilot, read the Student-Led Conferences Final Report.
For more information about this pilot or to share your comments and questions, contact Beth Brodie at gro.t1449549143vpihs1449549143rentr1449549143ap@ht1449549143eb1449549143.
Below: EMS teachers Laura Botte and Katie Wyndorf display the iBook portfolios their students used to share learning with family.