How Students Lead and Parents Participate in Parent-Teacher Conferences
Photo: Creative Commons/Mark Prater
While most students take the lead in planning and following through on studies, some parents are too busy or unaware of their role in school to really participate in or prepare for parent-teacher conferences. Many forget to let their schools know the upcoming schedule, what activities are planned, or if it’s okay to leave the kids home. These are all great opportunities for students to make their own plans. While it can be difficult, a student-led conference is the best way to ensure that the school has the information it needs to effectively work with their student. Research suggests that student-led conferences improve parental participation in parent-teacher conferences.
Small Differences, Big Impressions
Students learn through watching their role models. Having parents attend parent-teacher conferences will have a tremendous impact on how the student feels about the meeting. Parents with children who lead the meeting positively will have a better experience and are likely to be more involved and present during conferences.
The purpose of parent-teacher conferences is to discuss the student’s academics and how they are doing. It’s a time for parents to catch up with teachers who have been monitoring the progress of their child since the start of the year. The students will get a chance to be engaged in how their teacher is supporting their progress. This is an important opportunity for students to express how well they are doing and show their parents.
In the end, better communication leads to better outcomes for students. Not only will parents be more involved during parent-teacher conferences, but they will also give their opinions and plans for the student and school. These are things parents can do to strengthen the relationship with their child’s teacher. It’s important for the teacher to share information about their goals, but students should be involved in their own planning. Students who take the lead in parent-teacher conferences have more empathy, help students develop interests outside of school, and even ask questions that allow for dialogue between the teachers and parents.
How to Stand Out During the Parent-Teacher Conference
Step Up and Participate
Being a student-led conference is important, but it’s also important to be your own person at parent-teacher conferences. The best way to do this is to stand out in your own right. Make yourself comfortable and be active. Some students may choose to approach their teachers at parent-teacher conferences. They may even come to speak in front of the entire class and introduce themselves.
The key to going from good to great is to avoid being shy or nervous. This means being confident and comfortable with yourself. Be sure to ask questions and to identify what topics you think are important to discuss. Many teachers are reluctant to add new topics to the agenda during parent-teacher conferences, so make sure to make an effort to ask questions you know the teacher is excited about.
Save the Presentation to the End
Sometimes it’s better for parents to save their presentation until the very end of parent-teacher conferences, so they can have more time to review. This will help them to feel more at ease. They should also save it for when they feel ready to leave. Parents often get distracted by the drama of the back and forth back and forth from teacher to parent, and they can make mistakes about whether or not it’s ok to leave their child home alone during conference time.
Asking the right questions and putting on a good show are the keys to success. There may be difficult questions from parents and teachers, and students have limited classroom experience. Make sure to talk to the teacher and ask for their advice on the most appropriate questions. Talk about what questions to avoid asking, such as questions about homework. Check in with teachers ahead of time, and before coming to conference, to make sure they have everything they need to help run a successful conference.
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For more information contact:
Karen Moody at [email protected]
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