Student-led conferences provide the opportunity for students to meaningfully reflect on their work. Teachers are considered collaborators and coaches, and students are responsible for thinking about their strengths, areas of weakness, and making goals for the remainder of the school year. This sense of agency gives students control over their school lives. They begin to realize that they are responsible for their learning and can reflect on how to meaningful goals for themselves.
The student-led conferences are also a way to teach skills you can’t learn from a textbook: organization, long-term planning, confidence with public speaking, collaboration and self-reflection. This aligns with a larger goal for Parker’s students-to move beyond rote knowledge to develop the kind of critical-thinking skills needed for “real world” success.
At Parker, students are expected to begin preparing for the conferences about a month ahead of time, collecting work samples, reading through their progress reports, reflecting on strengths and areas of struggle, and preparing answers to self-reflection questions.
These conferences are yet another way that Parker teachers transfer ownership to the students and put them directly at the center of their learning.
Here is an excellent article further explaining the benefits of these conferences.