Student led conferences

In this guest post Hailey Joubert, a Year 6 teacher, describes student led conference, where learners reflect on and share their learning with the parents…

Is it a worthwhile experience?

A few weeks ago our Year 6 students proudly and a little nervously conducted their annual Student Led Conferences (SLC).

“What are Student Led Conferences?” you may ask?

“Student Led Conferences involve the student and their parents. The student is responsible for leading the conference and also takes responsibility for their learning by sharing the process with their parents. The conference involves the student discussing and reflecting upon samples of work that they have previously chosen to share with their parents. These samples have been previously selected with guidance and support from the teacher and could be from the student’s portfolio” (taken from the IBO guidelines).

Some of my students showed samples of learning they had embedded on our class blog (as seen in right hand photo above). Students could even demonstrate a skill they have acquired/mastered in numeracy or ICT, should time allow. As an authorised PYP school we have chosen to use the SLC format for one of the conferences we hold each year. But it is my opinion that all schools should take this format on board. Why? I can give you 10 good reasons:

  1. SLC’s provide an authentic opportunity for students to reflect  as learners;
  2. SLC’s also provides an authentic opportunity for sharing what they have learned with their parents;
  3. As I observed my students making decisions about what pieces of work to choose and analyse what each piece indicates about them as learners – I was moved by their insight and honesty;
  4. When I listened to the conversations taking place between student and parents, it highlighted the amazement and awe most parents felt in response to what their son/daughter was sharing;
  5. I observed students taking responsibility for their learning;
  6. I observed students’ self-esteem blossoming as they reflected upon their growth;
  7. I observed parents’ pride in their child’s achievements;
  8. It was an enjoyable for all involved;
  9. The students felt it was worthwhile;
  10. The parents felt it was worthwhile.

Here are two parents’ comments which they shared in their reflection on our class blog:

 “I felt that the self-evaluation part was fantastic and showed the level of maturity the students have achieved that they are able to self analyse so articulately.”

“The student led conference was definitely worthwhile in allowing us time to see the work that Victoria is doing that we only see a fraction of at home. It was also a pleasure to see the confidence with which she was able to share her work – and to see her engaging in a fair-minded critique of herself.  We were able to see an entirely different side of our daughter. I found myself wondering when she grew up into such a confident and capable young lady!”

Here is a student’s response taken from our class blog:

“I thought that the student led conference was a worthwhile experience because I don’t normally share my work with my parents, so sharing my work with my parents is a special time for me. My parents appreciate my work and I feel proud.”

9 thoughts on “Student led conferences

  1. I had the privilege of sitting in on some Student Lead Conferences for Year 1/Year 2 at a very multi-cultural school. Another bonus of the conferences is that they are held in the family’s first language so we had a room full of children discussing their learning in different languages. Was a wonderful thing to hear even though I spoke only two of the languages in the room.


  2. Loved doing these this year, and most parents got plenty out of the experience and the students were so honest in their reflection.


  3. The benefits as a tool for parent education are immense. We can spend many sessions and provide copious amounts of written information ” educating” parents about 21st century learning and paradigm shifts but so often experiencing a SLC is the one experience that they need to consolidate their thinking…….as long as they are well equipped with a framework before they attend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s