Student Lead Conferences

Gail Mahoney | 4th April, 2016 Back to Blog

Student lead conferences at RBK International Academy are where we are putting our students in the driver's seat of their parent-teacher conferences. At RBK during the student lead conferences we allow for the students to create opportunities for reflections and engagements by the students. During these conferences students take the lead and are responsible to engage with their parents about their learning.

At RBK are actually a time when the teachers do very little talking. Instead, the students run the conferences, informing their parents about how they're doing, what their goals are going forward, explaining their learning outcomes and what kind of learners they are. Students prepare some sort of presentation which differs from each grade level; therefore it is scaffolded by their individual skill sets. In preparation for the student lead conferences all students manage and keep portfolios, the younger students are aided by their teachers. Portfolios are evidence of student’s work that shows their journey through the academic year. In the students portfolios each subject area must be included, and the reflection pieces also must be included even the single subject areas are represented. At RBK it is very important and stressed to the students to personally choose what is to go in their portfolio. During this it is really all about their learning and what's important to each individual student. When students are given enough time to reflect, you would be surprised that they will not just fill their portfolio with only their best work, but with work they want to improve on.

At RBK the student’s work in their portfolios is a springboard for discussions with their parents. At some point during the conference, the student shows his or her parent(s) their work from the student-created portfolio and uses the sticky notes they attached to each work sample to help explain why they have chosen that particular assignment.

A student may also during the student lead conference demonstrate how a Mathematics problem is solved that was challenging or read a passage to demonstrate their literacy skills or even share a story that they have written to explain the writing process. Students are in charge during the conference and the process is generally fluid and casual between three parties. While the student is showing their personally academic journey all three parties are sharing their insight in very positive and reinforcing ways. The teacher is able to move away from the responsibility of imparting negative information and judgment concerning the child’s abilities and progress. The teacher is a coach during the student lead conference that moves into the role of guiding the family towards mutually-drawn conclusions. Most importantly students and parents at RBK International academy love doing student lead conferences as they come away with a much richer understanding of their child’s learning outcomes and the personal journey their child is taking through school.