Student Led Conferences

WHAT ARE STUDENT LED CONFERENCES?

End of each semester you will have an opportunity to participate in a conference led by your child.

Throughout the semester, the students have developed a ortfolio that comprises samples of learning that they have selected as having an impact on their learning journey and of which they are proud of.

Sharing this with your child is an essential part of the conference. It provides the students with an opportunity to explain their learning to you and share their accomplishments. Other activities will be available for you to share, providing you with a glimpse of your child’s life at school.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?

Your child will be in charge of the conference and knows what they want to show you. Your child is very excited about their presentation, but may be a little bit nervous as well. Please provide encouragement and positive feedback as your child proceeds. You will receive some guiding questions which you may find helpful, please do not try to direct or control the conference.

Other children will be conducting conferences in the classroom at the same time. Please do not bring your other children and kindly switch off your mobile phones during the conference, as your attention to your child’s presentation should not be interrupted.

WHY STUDENT LED CONFERENCES?

This is one way that we can support to give our learners a voice – by becoming a metacognitive thinker. We understand the metacognition in a school context as thinking about one’s thinking. More precisely, it refers to the processes we use to plan, monitor, and assess our own understanding, learning, and performance.

To be able to teach students to think about their thinking we need to understand that metacognition can be practiced by having a critical awareness of

  • one’s thinking and learning
  • oneself as a thinker and learner


Metacognition literally means “big thinking.” You are thinking about thinking. During this process you are examining your brain’s processing. Teachers work to guide students to become more strategic thinkers by helping them understand the way they are processing information. Questioning, visualizing, and synthesizing information are all ways that readers can examine their thinking process. Through scaffolding and reciprocal teaching, students are able to practice the skills that lead to these overt acts becoming automatic.

— Fountas and Pinnell, 2000

In our digital world, we are capable of creating, capturing, curating, and connecting our learning process through various media, devices, and apps. We need to empower our students to independently document their learning process as it happens, regardless of time and/or space. With digital tools, we can redefine this action to be harnessed and used by us in order to practice thinking of our own thinking.

CONFERENCES AS REFLECTION

During our ongoing pilot project  in grade 5, I can confidently state that our grade 5 students are now constantly encouraged to reflect upon their learning and deepen their understandings. Technology has helped us to redefine our practice, it has enabled as to capture and curate the learning process, not just the end result. The tools in the app allow students to create reflection pieces that they could not do by themselves independently.

Using Seesaw to enable authentic reflection

The classroom teachers will be around to facilitate and support the conferences should it be needed, but please do not initiate conversation about your child. If you wish to confer with the teacher please set a meeting at another time.

Above all enjoy your child’s work, share their strengths as they show off the work they are so proud of.

References and suggested readings:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3366894/
http://www.benchmarkeducation.com/best-practices-library/metacognitive-strategies.html
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00098655.2016.1170450
http://www.lifescied.org/content/11/2/113.full
http://www.techlearning.com/blogentry/11061
http://blog.tesol.org/seesaw-student-driven-digital-portfolios/
https://www.commonsense.org/education/app/seesaw-the-learning-journal

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