(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?