The idea of student-run parent conferences may sound strange, but this evaluation method is becoming more popular in schools.

So, what exactly are student-run parent conferences? They’re a way of taking the responsibility of explaining student performance and behavior off of the teacher and placing some of it on the student. As the name implies, students attend the conference with their parent or guardian and use it as an opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned. This could be in the form of a presentation or a portfolio of work. Below are a few pros and cons related to using this technique, as well as tips for implementing student-run parent conferences in your classroom.

The Pros

  • student-run parent conferencesThese less conventional conferences may help students feel more engaged with their own educational process. In turn, this can serve as a motivating force for future work in the classroom.
  • Student-run parent conferences can show students what they’ve learned and give them a good idea of areas they may still struggle with and need to work on.
  • Having a student take the reigns is a way for them to practice speaking and engaging with adults in a professional manner.
  • Watching student-run parent conferences can give teachers a chance to evaluate progress on an individual level and develop more tailored learning strategies.

The Cons

  • Students who dislike presentations might not provide a wholly accurate demonstration of their knowledge during student-run parent conferences out of stress or fear of judgment.
  • Younger students in particular may find student-run conferences more challenging and need more support or structure in order to provide useful feedback to the adults in the room.
  • Student-run parent conferences with little or no input from instructors can have limited usefulness for parents who rely on professional feedback for a better understanding of how their children are performing in school.

Tips For Implementing Student-Run Parent Conferences

  • student-run parent conferencesSpend some time thinking of the best ways to showcase achievements at a student-run parent conference. Don’t choose activities that are overly complicated or messy.
  • Keep things specific and highlight particular areas so students have a clear idea of what they’re presenting. If you need to, break the presentations down into separate segments dedicated to different subjects.
  • The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has a recommended script to help educators get through student-run parent conferences more smoothly.

Conferences aren’t just for students. Read on here to learn about some STEM teacher conferences you can attend to grow professionally.

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