What is beyond the student led conference?

Due to unforseen circumstance and chance happening, one SLC took place this week that partially involved a sibling for a some of the conference time.  It was quite heart warming to see how the older daugher did not overpower the expereince, but guided conversation between Mum and son when asked  for, occasionally flipping between French and English inbetween convivial laughter. And it led my thinking to… “How do we dynamically build collective understanding of learning in our communitites?”

My experience of PYP student led conferences has led me to believe they are fairly standardised and for good reasons… the meaning that informs our philisophical leanings toward SLC’s is well informed – it is child centred and hopefully child driven. Whatever family dynamics are in place the structure of the SLC allows uninterrupted quality one on one time. However, widening the lens and considering what the experience represents from a communication perspective is interesting…  it can allow creative thought. What other dynamic ways can we communicate what we are learning? For me , this is a question worthy of further exploration.

The Positives…

Personal Understandings – helps students reflect and process their learning,  more ways to help parents (particularly EAL) better undersand the programme, siblings can be part of a joint learning episode

Collective Understanding – Families share focused  time around curriculum engagement, they can explore conceptual meaning, the skills that infuse understanding and the attitudes that shape actionable direction.

Meta Learning –  Parents learn from kids, teachers learn from parents and kids learn from the experience. In general, we learn more about each others understanding of  the puposes and perspectives of our school cultures.

The Negatives…

Personal Understandings – Family dynamics may compound the presenter by affecting self confidence and reinforce negative schematas. Parents attention is divided. For the teacher, experience fails to achieve desired effect therefore we may not wish to persevere.

Collective Understanding – Families do not gain much from the expereince, may even reinforce negative beliefs and attitudes. Logisitics for administrators and teachers – difficult to organise,   collaboration within schools take time… never enough of it, schools are such busy places… “Is it worth it?”

Meta Understanding – “Nobody understands us!”

I am not advocating doing away with SLC’s, I believe there is potential for exploring even more ways that allow everyone to pause for important learning moments. The more creative we are in our thought, the easier the obstacles are to overcome. Inquiry over advocacy. Why can’t there be more quality sharing like SLC’s in our schools?


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