I started doing student-led conferences instead of parent teacher conferences last year and the response was less than overwhelming so I was worried about doing it again.
But I believe it’s the right thing to do. It’s a way to faciltate discussions about learning instead of grades and a way to develop student agency. I know that it takes time to change the status quo so I’m sticking with it.
Fast forward to today and I’m in defensive mode before anyone is through my door, anticipating the worst. Boy, was I wrong. I had such a positive experience. I was able to stand back and witness the conversations as kids came in with their parents, grabbed their folders, and shared their learning. The conversations were thoughtful. Kids were talking not just about what they learn but how they learn.
I saw a 16 year old using a white board to teach her mum about DNA replication. I saw students describing the process of learning, what excited them and where they struggle. I learned so much about my kids while discussing the discrepancies between how they assessed their work habits and my observations of what hampers their learning. I listened, they were heard. It’s the best, most positive way to celebrate learning. I just wonder why we have the conversation so late in the semester.