Real Talk on Student Led Conferences

middle schoolers looking at a portfolio

Student led conferences are quickly replacing parent teacher conferences as a way of communicating students’ academic progress. The idea is that students do most of the talking, informing their parents about their academic goals and how they think they are doing in each class.  Teachers find that student led conferences often lead to empowerment and students taking ownership over their academics.  They recognize the conferences are an effective tool in holding students accountable for their work.  For educators interested in student led conferences, Edutopia offers a lot of great resources. Parents wanting to know how to help their child get the most from their conference should check out these effective tips to support their student.

With Arthur Morgan School’s fall academic unit drawing to a close, our middle schoolers are now preparing for their student led conferences.  I asked students to share how they felt about student led conferences.  As you would guess, the question brought out a variety of reactions.  Some are excited; others are confident; most are nervous.

How Do You Feel About Student Led Conferences?

These students’ reactions to the conferences are pretty exemplary of how middle schoolers react to a lot of new situations.  They feel nervous while also recognizing the intrinsic benefits of a challenging experience. As students go into their conferences, they will demonstrate their knowledge to their parents and take responsibility for their education in a way they never needed to previously.

Part of a Bigger Celebration

People eating a Thanksgiving feast.The student led conferences are part of AMS’s annual Thanksgiving celebration.  With the harvest season and the academic unit ending, this weekend is a perfect time to recognize all the work our students do.  Celebrating students’ hard work is important.  Middle schoolers seek valorization, meaning they want their work to have value. By taking a moment to celebrate all their work, academic and physical, they see the impact they have on the larger community.

Before the student led conferences always held on the last Friday before Thanksgiving break, AMS hosts an academic open house where students present what they have learned in their classes to their parents and the rest of Celo Community. As they practice presenting publicly, they reinforce what they have learned and receive recognition from their community.

Then on Saturday students, staff, alumni, and their families will come together to share a huge feast of turkey and vegetables, all harvested from the school’s garden. After the feast, everyone will enjoy the students’ Thanksgiving play which they’ve practicing for months.  Students will then enjoy a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a great way to recognize the efforts they have been putting into their schoolwork and their community!

-by Nicholas Maldonado

AMS has lots on great ways to help students take responsibility and feel ownership over their schoolwork!
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