Student Led Conferences

We are excited to hold Student Led Conferences. These sessions are a great opportunity to spend some time in your child’s class listening to them talk about their learning.  Teachers are in the room to support your children if needed but as the research says, the best people to talk about their learning are the learners (Absolum, 2006).

In 2024, we are trialling different times of year for SLCs: mid-Term Two and mid-Term Three.

What is a Student Led Conference?

A student led conference (SLC) is a meeting run by the student for his or her parents, entirely focused on the student’s recent learning.

During the conference the student presents work in different curriculum areas, discussing the process of learning and the progress made to date.

Why have Student Led Conferences?

Father and daughter

Research shows that one of the ways to improve student achievement is developing students’ ability to talk about their learning and their progress – it makes a difference.

Professor John Hattie published a revised list of the most effective influences on student achievement which identifies student self – reporting as the most significant indicator linked to raised student achievement. Two other international researchers, Black & Wiliam further comment, “the process of students reflecting on their learning, through effective questioning that promotes the articulation of student thinking, is integral to classroom assessment practices that enhance student learning.”

“If the focus is to be kept on learning, and the ownership of the learning with the child, then the best person to talk about the learning is the learner’… ‘Not only is the student the best person to tell their parents what they have learnt, but if we believe that students build their knowledge by communicating what they know, then providing an opportunity for the students to tell their family what they know can significantly assist with that learning.” Absolum, (2006)

Absolum, M (2006) Clarity in the Classroom Auckland Hodder
Black, P & Wiliam, D (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, October, 139-148
Hattie, J. (2009) Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

How do they work?

Conferences can last up to 45 minutes, although you do not have to stay this long if your child has finished sharing their learning. Four or five student led conferences will be held at the same time in your child’s classroom. You can ‘flow’ into a conference slightly earlier or later if the teacher indicates there is space when you arrive. Each child should have a basic agenda that they will follow.

You could be involved in a variety of activities during the time – looking at samples of learning, doing an activity to support learning, talking about goals and what your child, you and the teacher might do to support these goals, looking at work around the classroom. At some point during the conference, your child’s teacher will check in with you to help support but remember that your child leads the conference.

What will I need to do to support my child?

Before the conference

  • Book a time and put it in your diary (details notified in school newsletter)
  • Check the prompts & important things to remember list (below)
  • Discuss attendance with an estranged partner if necessary – each child will run only one conference

On the conference day

  • Come with your child
  • Listen – your child will do most of the talking
  • Keep the conversation focused on learning 
  • Use the prompts below or from the teacher 
  • Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate
  • Write a comment for your child in the Visitors’ Book (these are shared with the children the next day)
  • Switch your phone to silent

After the conference

  • Keep up the conversation about learning goals and successes

Prompts to a learning focussed conversation with your child:

  • What were you learning to do in this piece of work?
  • What were the steps you went through to learn this?
  • What helped you to learn this?
  • What do you need to learn next?
  • What are you most proud of? Why?
  • Tell me about your learning at the moment.
  • Which area of learning do you find easiest? Why?
  • Which area of learning do you find trickiest? Why?
  • What could we do together to help you with this learning?

 Important things to remember

  • Your child will run this conference – not you or the teacher/s. Your child must be here.
  • Children are always proud to celebrate what they have been learning. Some things they show you will be incomplete or may have ‘mistakes’ as we encourage our children to see learning as a process, not a finished product.
  • If you cannot make a time on conference day, please contact your teacher/s about arranging an alternative day before or after school.
  • The conference is about learning, not behaviour or social issues. If you have concerns around these areas, please contact the teacher to make an appointment. Likewise, the teacher/s will contact you if they have any concerns in this area.
  • Whānau are welcome to attend conferences but we ask that siblings to do not detract from the focus being on the learner. Child-care is available for younger children.
  • Senior Leaders may take photos and/or videos of conferences to support teachers in their learning about SLCs.