The Benefits of Learning Conferences
The buildup to a ‘Learning Conference’ can be quite a stressful time for students, parents, and teachers. For the students, this could be related to what will my parents think, have I done well enough? For parents, it can bring back memories of their own experiences, along with anxiety of how well their child is performing or behaving. For teachers, they can be concerned regards the reaction of the parent when honest feedback is given. The most important thing to remember is that Learning Conferences are an opportunity to plan for the future, what has happened in the past can’t be changed, but the future can be.
An effective Learning Conference can boost family involvement in a child’s learning and ultimately lead to positive outcomes. It is vital that the students and parents celebrate what is being done well, but also listen to what needs further development, this information is key to planning for the future.
Before you start the planning phase, use the meetings as an opportunity for both student and parent to ask questions in order to get further information to support the plan. Those questions don’t need to be complex; they could be about how could I help at home, or what resources or websites could we use to help at home? It is also important to note that you can ask questions at any time of the year, it doesn’t just need to be during the Learning Conferences. For example, once the parent and child have made a plan, check in with those teachers where the most development is needed to ensure they are remaining on track.
After today’s Learning Conferences, we encourage parents to sit with your child and identify what next. Talk about what they do well and why they think they do well in this area, then prioritise the areas that need to be developed, it is important that the child’s opinions and the comments from the teacher are used so that all parties (student-parent-teacher) are involved in this process.
To support with future Learning Conferences, please see some top tips that have been put together from various researchers and parenting websites:
How is my child’s approach to learning?--Ask how your child performs in class. Does he or she have trouble in any areas. This can provide valuable insight into learning skills and habits your child may need to practice.
Does my child participate in class?--Children who don’t speak out in class may not do so because they are having difficulty understanding a subject. If the teacher notes your child isn’t participating in the classroom, it’s important to find out why this may be.
Is my child having any challenges?--If your child isn’t giving his or her all in school, it’s important to start figuring out why. It could be that he or she isn’t understanding the material, is having a hard time staying focused, or even struggling to see the board.
What does my child excel at?--This question will help you and the teacher identify your child’s strengths create a learning plan that suits these strengths. Take what works for your child and incorporate into other areas where he or she may be struggling. This information will also support you and your child when making option choices at Year 9 and Year 11.
How can we help at home?--Your child’s teacher wants him or her to succeed and needs your help to achieve this. Show the teacher that you’re willing to get involved by asking what sorts of routines or work you can do at home to improve.