Conferences as Design Critiques

Frame parent-teacher conferences as a conversation.

Photo of Carly
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(Image via A List Apart)

As a design educator at the college level, I teach students how to engage in critique and conversation. A successful crit has many elements (all of which are outlined in this luminous book) including making sure all parties understand the parameters and directives of the project and that feedback is given in a productive manner.

I would imagine the same methodology could be applied to parent-teacher conferences. Depending on the grade it may be helpful to overtly separate conversations around behavior (following directions) and academics.

Maybe the student should also be involved? Parent-teacher conferences, parent-student conferences, and teacher-student conferences all taking place at the same time?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Clint Heitz

Carly - If you'd be willing, I would greatly appreciate your support for Guideposts to Success by heading to the post and leaving a positive evaluation, as well as suggestions to grow the idea even more! Thank you!

Photo of Jessica Lura

Thanks for the thoughts what type of preparation may be needed for meaningful conversations to happen (as well as thinking about who is actually involved in the conversation).  

Thinking about the purpose of parent/teacher conference (which perhaps is another post--what is the purpose and is the purpose being met) it seems like the structure of the  meetings be intentional with specific protocols.

Many of the stories being told in this stage are of the teachers and parents needs not being met and most of the issues seem to be structural and process-oriented. I am lucky enough to work at a school where the parents have more than 10 minutes per teacher and where the student plays a role (and my previous school had a week of half days so that we could meet with all the parents), but even in those cases where the structure allowed enough time for teachers to meet with parents, there wasn't a lot of conversations about HOW to meet with the parents and what role I played, the parent played, and sometimes the student. How do I share student work? What do I tell parents when they are worried their child is struggling? There isn't a lot of support for teachers (or for parents) and definitely was pain point for me was I first became a teacher.

I will definitely check out the book--any protocols for feedback and critique that can be used by parents, teachers, and students is a fabulous resource.

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

This is a very interesting suggestion! How might we prep the parents for the "crit" before the actual night? 

Photo of Brett Brownell

Hi Carly, it looks like your contribution hasn't been "published" yet. I love that you want to include students in the process, so if you're done drafting, just click the blue "Publish" button at the top of your post so everyone can see your insight. Looking forward to collaborating with you!

Photo of Carly

Thanks Brett Brownell I did't realize that!