Building Understanding of Student Led Conferences in the Parent Community

As the PYP Coordinator, part of my responsibility is to help educate the parents in our school community about various aspects of the Primary Years Programme. One tool that we use for parent education are ‘Coffee Mornings’ that are held approximately once per month. At these sessions, various informative topics are discussed and students are also given the opportunity to share their learning with the parent community.

This month, with student led conferences quickly approaching, I will be presented on the topic at a Parent Coffee Morning. For many of our ‘new’ families, student led conferences are not a type of reporting that they are familiar with so it is important to spend some time in advance of the event to provide them with the opportunity to learn about why we feel they are an important tool and how they can use this event to best support their child in the learning process.

As a PYP Coordinator, I am always looking for ways to help parents see how units of inquiry are structured with the essential elements of the programme so I took the opportunity to structure my presentation with the essential elements as my framework.

Central Idea: Student-led conferences empower students to take ownership of their learning by focusing on the process, successes and challenges.

Leaner Profile: Communicators, Reflective

Attitudes: Commitment, Confidence

Form: What is it? (Line of Inquiry: What is a student led conference?)
• Method of reporting student progress and achievement – one of many that we use (Formal: Learning Skills Reports, Parent Teacher Interviews, Report Cards, Informal: Test/Assignments coming home to be signed, Emails, Conversations)
• Conversation between student and parent about the learning process, not necessarily focused on the summative assessment or final grade but more so on the skills that were used in the learning process
• Celebration of learning

Causation: Why is it like it is? (Line of Inquiry: Why do we believe in Student-Led Conferences?)
• More reflective process, communicates how students are doing by also why
• Highlights student voice – what their strengths and challenges are, correlation between effort, progress, and understanding
• Help students to communicate their learning and processes to their parents – often helps make things visible that don’t appear on a traditional report card and might not happen in a regular conversation at home about school
• Provides students with the message that they are responsible for their own learning and success

Function: How does it work? (Line of Inquiry: What happens during a student led conference?)
• Students and teachers prepare by selecting samples of work to build a ‘portfolio’ and reflecting on what those pieces of work demonstrate – best work, growth, challenge
• Students practice presenting and sharing their work and any other artifacts of learning that they would like to share

• Review student work and progress
• Teachers will provide parents with a list of questions that they can ask to help stimulate discussion
• Focus on how you can help your child and what your child need from you
• Depending on the grade level, may have a few short activities to do in the classroom, visit the specialist teachers

• Celebrate
• Set goals with your child or review habits (homework time, screen time, reading time)
• Use the student-led conference as a conversation builder to continue talking about the learning that has been happening at school




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