What is a student-led conference?
Student-led conferences (SLCs) are a conference where the student is given choice and power in how they want to set up their conference. Student-led conferences allow the students to choose the location, date, time, and agenda of what is going to be discussed. Student-led conferences take away the stress for both parents/guardians and teachers because it is more informal, student-friendly, and let the student choose what they would like to discuss.
Student-led conferences are more than simply having your child attend their individual education meeting with you. Student-led conferencing is about giving kids a say in the procedure.
What are the differences between a special education student-led conference and a teacher conference?
When it comes to special education, there are two types of conferences: a student-led conference and a teacher-led conference.
A student-led conference is when the student leads their own meeting with their teachers while a teacher-led conference is when the teachers have a meeting with all of their students
Student-led conferences give the student a chance to be in control of their education by having direct input on their own future. The student may put together a portfolio with schoolwork on or other presentations, which they will present to their teachers who are in attendance. This allows the child to put forth their best work
On the other hand, a teacher-led conference is when teachers have a meeting with all of their students for academic or behavioral progress. The student may only be in attendance to listen while the conversation happens between the parents, teachers and sometimes even administrators depending on the severity of the student's actions
The purpose of both conferences is to reach an agreement on the student's needs and how teachers can help further their education. Either way, it is important for parents to be informed about what has happened in the meeting so they can continue to support their child academically. It is also important for the student to understand that there is a support system that they can rely on
Student-led conferences should take place every six months and must be documented. Teacher-led conferences can happen as frequently as needed, depending on how often a child requires certain support from teachers or administrators.
Some students may be unable to attend their conferences, which is why there are other options. Parents can request a video conference with the student either through a computer or by going to a public location, such as a library or school gymnasium. Other times, these conferences can happen over the phone
How do you schedule a special education student-led conference?
A student-led conference typically is scheduled during an existing parent/teacher conference day. Typically, special education teachers will contact the parents to set a mutually agreed-upon meeting date and time that takes place every 45 minutes. To ensure adequate preparation, student-led conferences should be scheduled in advance.
What is the benefit of a student-led conference?
Student-led conferences provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned and discuss their progress with their parents/guardians and teacher(s). Student-led conferences help teach responsibility and give students a better understanding of how school works, as well as strengthen their communication skills. Student-led conferences also give the teacher/parent a chance to hear directly from the student about their strengths and challenges. Student-led conferences are typically scheduled for 45 minutes. Student-led conferences should be scheduled in advance to ensure enough time for preparation.
What can you do during a special education student-led conference?
Student-led conferences do not have a specific agenda, but instead, Student-led conferences typically begin with the student introducing themselves and their family to their parents/guardians and teacher(s). Student-led conferences give students a chance to show what they have learned in school that day or reflect on topics covered over a set amount of time. Student-led conferences also give students an opportunity to discuss their strengths and challenges in school, as well as set goals for the future.
If a student is not able to fully participate in the student led process it is important to allow the student to participate at the highest level possible. Utilize all accommodations and modifications noted in the students IEP as well as differentiating the process so that the student can access this experience and learning opportunity as closely to the same age peers as possible.
If needed parents and the teacher plan the agenda of the Student-led conference together. Parents and teachers can make a list of topics prior to the Student-led conference day to help keep the conference focused.
How to prepare special-education students for student-led conferences?
Conferences are more than simply having your student attend their individual education meeting with you. Student-led conferencing is about giving kids a say in the procedure.
This may be a struggle for students with special needs.
Conferences provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned and discuss their progress with their parents/guardians and teacher(s). Student-led conferences help teach responsibility and give students a better understanding of how school works as well as strengthen their communication skills.
Student-led conferences also give the teacher/parent a chance to hear directly from the student about their strengths and challenges.
How to implement student led conferences for students with disabilities
Five things a teacher can do to prepare students for a student-led conference
1. Help students build a portfolio of their work. This can include samples of their written work, artwork, photos of projects they have completed, and any other accomplishments.
2. Help students reflect on their learning experiences. Encourage them to think about what they have enjoyed learning the most, what they found challenging, and what they have learned from both successes and failures.
3. Teach students how to give and receive feedback effectively. Students should be taught how to give and receive feedback in a way that is respectful and helpful.
4. Teach students about their individual strengths and weaknesses. Help students understand their own unique strengths and areas in which they need to continue to improve.
5. Help students develop self-advocacy skills. Student-led conferences are an opportunity for students to advocate for their own needs and interests.
Two things a parent can do to prepare for student-led conferences
1. De-stress the experience. Student-led conferences are not meant to be stressful or intimidating, they are simply an extension of the other learning that occurs in the classroom.
2. Talk about the student-led conference with your child beforehand. Review information that was sent home, identify what you expect to be discussed, and share any questions you may have. Student-led conferences are not meant to be an opportunity for parents to tell teachers how they should teach their child at school, but rather a time to share information that could be helpful for teachers to know.
A student-led conference has many advantages over traditional parent-teacher conferences. Student-led conferences are more engaging for students because they provide an opportunity to become actively involved in their educational process. Student-led conferences allow students the chance to explore their interests, determine success, and build self-confidence while also engaging parents in the learning process.
Student-led conferences are often more comfortable for students because they can be conducted anywhere, while parent-teacher conferences must take place at school. Student-led conferences are usually more comforting for students with autism or other disabilities that may affect their comfort level around adults outside of their families. Student-led conferences provide an opportunity for students to advocate for their individual needs.
How student-led conferences are less formal
Student-led conferences are meant to be informal and comfortable, an opportunity for students and parents to bond over shared interests and passions. Student-led conferences take place in a location that is most comfortable for the student—be it at home or at school—and can be conducted whenever both the parents and the student are willing to meet. Student-led conferences often take place in an environment that is more accepting of students with disabilities, allowing them to feel comfortable asking questions or raising concerns about their learning experience. Student-led conferences allow students with special needs to effectively advocate for their educational needs.
How student-led conferences to give students a voice to share their passions
Student-led conferences give students the opportunity to share their passions, ideas, and interests with others. Student-led conferences give students an effective way to communicate what they enjoy learning about, what they struggle with, and how teachers can help them be successful. Student-led conferences also allow students the chance to explore their own unique interests and strengths without feeling as if parental or teacher pressure is being put on them to pursue interests that may not truly motivate or excite them. Student-led conferences give students the opportunity to develop strong social skills, learning how to communicate effectively with parents and teachers about their needs and ideas. Student-led conferences are also an excellent way for parents of children with disabilities to learn more about what their child is interested in and how they learn best. Student-led conferences allow students with disabilities to explore their passions and share their experiences with others, both parents and teachers alike.
Less intimidating for parents of students with disabilities
Student-led conferences also provide an effective way for parents of children with disabilities to communicate their child's educational needs to teachers in a less intimidating environment than parent-teacher conferences or IEP meetings. Student-led conferences give parents an opportunity to advocate for their child's educational needs without placing pressure on teachers or students with disabilities. Student-led conferences allow students the chance to voice concerns, share ideas about how they learn best and ask questions in a more comfortable environment than traditional parent-teacher conferences
provide accountability for students with disabilities
Student-led conferences also provide accountability for students with disabilities. Student-led conferences ensure that students with disabilities are actively involved in their educational experience, rather than allowing teachers to assume responsibility for their learning. Student-led conferences allow students the chance to explore their own needs and interests while also advocating for themselves in an educational environment
contributes to a stronger support network for the student
Student-led conferences also provide opportunities for parents to work together cooperatively with teachers in providing additional support for their child's learning. Student-led conferences encourage teamwork between parents and teachers to support students with disabilities, often leading to a stronger support network for students
Provide a self-advocacy opportunity
Student-led conferences allow students with disabilities the opportunity to advocate for themselves in their own educational experience Student-led conferences help students gain confidence in advocating for themselves while also strengthening the communication skills of both teachers and parents Student-led conferences provide accountability for students with disabilities Student-led conferences allow parents the opportunity to work together with teachers in supporting their child Student-led conferences create a comfortable environment where students can communicate and advocate for themselves
Student-led conferences provide a variety of benefits for both students with disabilities and their parents. Student-led conferences allow students to share their passions, ideas, and interests with others in a comfortable environment. Student-led conferences are also less intimidating for parents of students with disabilities than traditional parent-teacher conferences or IEP meetings. Student-led conferences also provide an effective way for parents of children with disabilities to communicate their child's educational needs to teachers. Student-led conferences encourage teamwork between parents and teachers to support the student's education. Lastly, student-led conferences provide opportunities for students with disabilities to advocate for themselves in their own educational experience. All these benefits work together to create a stronger support network for the student.