Why Student-Led Conferences…MUST Happen!

The idea of students being in the building, much less involved, during Parent-Teacher Conferences when I was in school was so “taboo,” I remember asking my Dad to put a tape recorder in his boot and record what my teachers said about me as a ‘tween. It seems so silly now, but as the mother of an 11-year old daughter who suffers from the same insecurities and lack of confidence I did at that age I could see her asking me to hit record on my Iphone while in a conference.

Why wasn’t I allowed in the building back then anyway? My teachers & my Dad were talking about ME & how I was doing; MY education and MY behavior? In hindsight the exclusion of student voice in this, and so many other things in education just really doesn’t make sense.

Recently, I read an awesome piece from Edutopia http://edut.to/1h9KYV3 about the great experiences & success a K-8 school in Chicago is having with Student-Led conferences. (Really worth a Look!)  Last year, we introduced our own “Student-Led” conferences in our K-12 school for the first time…admittedly it was baby steps, but it was definitely a starting point.  As a parent it was awesome to have my shy daughter initiate conversation about what she was doing in classes, with her teachers present, and both of us hearing the feedback from her teachers (which was much BETTER than what she was expecting). What a proud moment as a truly involved & invested part of my child’s education. If we really want our parents to be a valued partner in their students’ education, student-led conferences would be a great place to start.

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