Student Learning Conferences
At Student Learning Conferences, we are once again eager to open our doors and invite all parents/guardians to come and meet with their child’s teachers to talk about their child’s learning… but this year we invite the students themselves to join us as experts who can provide a unique depth of insight on how learning is going.
We try hard here at Hamilton District Christian High to journey the high school years with our students, inviting their voice and choice into many assignments, discussions, projects, and extracurricular opportunities. So we want them to be a part of our dialogues about their learning as well.
Leaders of their Own Learning
Based on research, educational theory, our relational approach to community, and our desire to honour students as key leaders of their own learning, we believe this new approach is good because it:
- Honours our students as key participants in their learning journey by asking for their input in our discussions about their learning
- Grows the relationships between parent-student-teacher by having the chance to dialogue together, sharing each person’s reflections, developing common understandings
- Is an excellent opportunity for students to grow and demonstrate self-assessment, reflection, and goal setting which are critical skills in life as they navigate high school and beyond
- Helps parents and teachers better understand the students’ learning experiences by hearing directly from the student themselves
Why students should be involved
It is a chance to have a voice in the discussion about how their learning is going, getting to talk about the learning and work that they are really proud of, and getting ideas on how they could be supported in the areas they find challenging. It provides an opportunity to get input from their parent and teacher together on how they can help him or her reach their goals in learning and life. Research shows a connection between self-assessment skills and student achievement, and these conferences are a great opportunity for students to engage in the self-assessment process and share their reflections with an authentic audience.
What’s in it for the parents?
A chance to hear from their child about his or her learning experiences, to hear from the teacher about his or her observations and thoughts, and to dialogue as a triad of parent/guardian, teacher, and student about the great things that are happening, and also the challenges. A chance to offer their parental perspectives and ideas based on what they are hearing, and experiences at home as they relate to their child’s learning. A voice in supporting their child as they set goals or seek support through the rest of the semester.
What’s in it for the school?
We aim to grow our staff relationships with students and their families, strengthening our school community. Having the chance to dialogue together with parents/guardians and students is a great opportunity to build relationships. We also hope this shows our students that we value their voice and participation in discussions about their learning.
What will it look like?
It will look a lot like it did before, except we hope to have students and parents together sitting and dialoguing with our teachers. We will meet in the gym, there will be great snacks, and we will meet in 8-minute intervals. Our students will have had time in class to reflect on how things are going and write their ideas down. To start the conference, the teacher will invite the student to share, and dialogue will follow. Student, parent, and teacher input will be part of the dialogue. If you have more than one child at HDCH, there will be space for the students not involved in the conference you are in to hang out before/after/between their own conferences.
If the student is unable to make it, we still encourage parents/guardians to come. If as a parent you would like to talk privately to the teacher about a concern, you are always welcome to arrange an appointment with the teacher to meet separately or connect via Edsby or email. The sign-up process for these conferences will be the same as last year.
The new format for our conferences may feel a bit different, but we are excited about the potential positive outcomes of these conferences. We invite parents and students to join us on October 19 and 24 to participate in our inaugural Student Learning Conferences and look forward to growing relationships as we dialogue together about student learning.