Student Led Conference at Amaroo School

Transforming traditional parent-teacher interviews http://www.studentledconference.com/

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This submission is made on behalf of Amaroo School in Australia by the Education Changemakers team. We have been working with the Learning Frontiers project across Australia to embed design-thinking processes in schools. 

How can Amaroo School:

encourage students to accept personal responsibility for their academic performance and progress?

teach the process of self-evaluation and reflection?

increase parental engagement in learning?

Practical steps:

To support the replacement of parent-teacher interviews with Student Led Conferences, the suite of tools developed by Amaroo School features:

student, teacher and parent resources, e.g. templates, portfolio scaffolds, video demonstrations, conference scripts to aid discussions http://bit.ly/amarooslc

online booking system for use by whole school community http://bit.ly/bookslc

Achievement form completed by students and parents to inform future learning http://bit.ly/amarooslcform

A professionally produced website about Student Led Conferences http://www.studentledconference.com/ that can be utilised by Educators across Australia and Internationally.

Who has been involved?

Amaroo School is a  Learning Frontiers school in the Canberra Regional Hub.  Student Led Conferences have been run across the senior school comprising 300 year 9 and 10 students over the last year.  The Deputy Principal of Amaroo Senior School, Tiffany Mahon has led the Student Led Conference project for Amaroo School and is a National Learning Frontiers Steering Committee member.

What has happened so far?

Year 9 and 10 students at Amaroo School presented their own Student-Led Conference in Week 2, Term 2,  2015 and again in Week 9 and 10, Term 1 2016. Each student prepared a student-led conference script to present and discuss their learning.  To inform the discussion, students created and referred to a digital portfolio using the google suite of applications. The creation of this digital portfolio was scaffolded with the creation of a ‘resource site’ that provided templates for students, information for the community, and a research context.

Each individual student digital portfolio contains:

a piece of work the student was proud of

a piece of work the student would like to improve

reflections on their learning

other items added to demonstrate their learning at Amaroo School (videos, photos and other media).

Next steps in their journey as a learner

Early evidence about the introduction of SLCs is overwhelmingly positive.  SLCs provide a mechanism whereby:

students do most of the talking, not teachers or parents

reflection on and celebration of a student’s learning takes place

students are encouraged and prepared to be independent, metacognitive learners.

Parent Engagement in learning at Amaroo School has increased from an average of 27% through traditional Parent Teacher nights to 80% through Student Led Conferences.

Stakeholder Experiences:

Student:

“I found my student led conference an enjoyable learning experience where I was able to share what I had done and what I am currently doing in all the different subject areas not only with my mum but also with my AmStudy/home room teacher.” Jessica, Year 9 Student

Classroom teacher :

“Parents said they appreciated the positivity of the conferences and a chance to see what their child had been doing” Naomi, Classroom Teacher.

“The conferences I had were really positive and the parents and students seemed to find the process useful - especially the achievement plan”  Tamara, Classroom Teacher

“All of the conferences I was involved with were very positive experiences. In each case, student's took ownership of their learning goals and what they needed to do in order to achieve them.” Brendan, Classroom Teacher

“I felt the e-portfolios were a fantastic way for the students to showcase their work, particularly in conjunction with the BYOD implementation. Overall, it was a great way to get to know the students and their parents a little better, I received some great parent feedback and will also be making a student wellbeing referral or two as a result.” Veronika, Classroom Teacher

School leader:

“The introduction of Student Led Conferences at Amaroo School has been a huge success. It has provided more focus on student learning by requiring the student to generate the feedback about their learning to their parents. As well it has increased participation of parents who are keen to allow their children the opportunity to showcase their learning at school. We have received some excellent feedback from parents on the process and there have been very few teething problems with the implementation of this new process. As result of the successes we have experienced we will be examining Student Led Conferences for use across more areas of our school.”  Richard, Previous Principal Amaroo School.

One of the things I found most exciting about the SLC’s was their Inclusive nature. I look after a group of students that is particularly diverse (with a number having diagnosed Learning Difficulties and Special Needs) and it was these students in particular that have been able to demonstrate deep learning, and genuine engagement through the Student Led Conference medium. These are students who typically struggle to identify their own learning, and as a result find it challenging to communicate what they have achieved-however in this scaffolded and supported setting they were able to show their proud parents what they were proud of, what they had learnt, and why this was important-as well as reflecting on some avenues for future improvement. The feedback from these students, and the parents they presented too, was that although the experience was a challenging one, it was certainly revealing for all parties and well worth the time and effort.- Ian, School Leader C, Amaroo School

Parent:

“It was a very positive discussion and hearing from the student instead of the teacher was empowering.  My daughter taking ownership of her learning journey was great to see and hear” Mare, Parent

We would like to thank Amaroo School for the opportunity to take part in the Student Led Conference with our son and his Amstudy mentor, Miss Pearl.  Although Callum was quite nervous and shy in presenting to us, it was great to see him taking control of his learning and outcomes, and I think this was a great chance to improve his skills in presenting and public speaking - in a kind and gentle environment!  It was great that we were able to ask questions and review work and that we all had the ability to evaluate where we are now and how to progress in the coming terms - and we sincerely recognise that it is not a job that should be left solely to the responsibilities of the student or school, but that we need to work together.  Helen, Parent Amaroo School

“I found Jess' student led conference a good experience where I was able to learn about what she was doing and had done in all of her different classes, how they all related together and how they could be applied in different aspects of her life.” Jennifer Parent

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Photo of Jessica Lura
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Summer,
Wow! Thanks for all the resources and insight into the Amaroo School's journey to reimagine parent/teacher interviews. 

Is the school planning on extending the student-led conferences to older and younger students?