The first part of this week was taken up with learning conferences.
I still remember the parent-teacher conferences from days gone by. I was stuck at home while mum and sometimes dad went off to school to talk to my teachers about what I’ve been up to. There always seem to be this weird disconnect between the one or two sentences my parents gave to the event versus the time that my parents spent at the interviews. My young brain always wondered. What on earth the adults were spending their time talking about.
It is fantastic that times have changed and now not only are students invited along to the conferences but are actually in charge of leading the discussion. I had my learners set up with their paper-based portfolios and their blogs to show their parents what they’ve been up to at school. The students were then charged with teaching their parents how to comment on their blogs. The result has been an increased amount of engagement on the blogs and I will definitely follow up next year with more of an emphasis on commenting not just for the students but also for the family.
Yes it was a bit weird at first having a family in there and not talking but music seemed to lighten the mood a bit which lead to far better conversations.
Obviously the learners needed to be prepared so that they could give their parents some meaningful details about their learning. My class spent a morning showing a classmate their learning portfolio and blog in practice for the big event.
So yes learning conferences, especially the ones where students take the lead, are awesomesauce even if they leave the teacher exhausted by the end of them.