Student-Led Conferences: Empowerment and Ownership (Transcript)
Marissa: Hi, mom, welcome to my Student-Led Conference. First, I'm going to tell you about my goals.
The conferences here are different. Most schools, the teachers talk to the parent, but in our school here, Wildwood, the students talk to the parents. We actually get to tell our parents what we're doing.
Rebecca: I think the greatest impact that I see is them taking ownership of their growth process.
Jonathan: Pretty much it just changes everything about parent-teacher conferences. They get to see all your work and everything that you're doing. And actually get to learn a few things about what you're doing. So.
At the beginning of the universe, creation of stars, creation of the earth. We mapped that onto a football field as a timeline.
Mary Beth: I think student ownership of learning, and what that means is students being able to say, "This is who I am as a learner, this is what I'm learning, this is why it's important to me," you're building that sense of relevance and connection to the curriculum, sense of relevance and connection to each other, to the teacher, and to the broader work of the community. To actually make student ownership a reality in the school is very challenging. So what we did is we just started very small, and we just said, "Just figure out how students are going to have a little more presence at the conference," and I think just creating that sense that the student is the center of the conference, so the student gets to be the one that facilitates that conference.
Maddy: And here's the table of contents for my binder. So first, there's an introductory letter, to introduce you to thee Student Conference, and what I'd be talking about. Look at that.
Brigid: It's not about us. It's the kids' turn to conference with the parents.
Rebecca: It's their turn to shine. We provide enough resources for them, so that when they lead the conference, they feel confident.
Marissa: Well, this year we wrote an essay, to know what we're going to say to our parents, and not just keep pausing.
Now I will tell you my strengths and then my weaknesses. My strengths are math. So, for example, this is exponents. And this is long division.
Maddy: During the quarter, you really have to like work on each assignment, 'cause you know you're going to like want to tell your parents something about it.
Brigid: There's a lot of pre-work that's done before conferences happen. The kids have got to practice, and you also have to really let them think about what they want to be in their binder. It's a combination of things that they chose, and things that we chose.
Maddy: So when I was preparing my binder, you know, the whole time I was thinking, "Oh, I can tell my mom like all the new things I learned."
Probably my favorite thing is this. We like found three things for each document, and disconnected them.
The purpose of the student led conference is to who her where I was at, where I am at, and where I want to be at.
So, for Quarter 2, I want to get better at like literary devices and analytical paragraphs, and to better on the vocabulary tests that we have. So like you could help me study for those.
I really got to show my mom like the work that I was proud of. And I also included some work that I kind of struggled with.
And then here's a vocabulary test. I was very confused on this one.
While I'm doing the work, and towards the end of the quarter, I'm like kind of looking at like how I'm doing, because I know that I'll have to talk about, not just the teacher, but I will.
Jonathan: It gets people used to be able to like review their work, like a reflection.
Brigid: Reflection is part of our school culture. You know, as teachers we're expected to reflect.
Jonathan: I'm going to need to work on these traits. So, the first take, it would be like raising my hand more. Or like going into activities where I wouldn't feel like comfortable, like my comfort zone. Like working in groups, kind of.
Rebecca: That's a good reflection.
Rita: What Jonathan was able to showcase, makes me so proud of him. He also have a good grasp of what he's learning. And that depth is what I really was able to get today. And I couldn't have got from him at home.
Teachers: Good job.
Jonathan: Yeah, thank you.
Brigid: It helps parents to see their kids in a different light, too. This is what my child is as a student.
Jonathan: Like you can see like the little details of how I draw.
Christine: Through Student-Led Conferences and through the reflection, and emphasis on applying what you know, and articulating what you know, and sharing what you know, it's been really cool to see the expression of what someone's learned about themselves.
Maddy: Loving events and people in my life have helped me become who I am. No matter how many things change in the future, I'll still be me.
Christine: I hope so. Good job.