The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences

As regular readers know, I’ve been “curating” resources I’ve posted about over the past three years. You can see all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences:

Don’t Treat Parent-Teacher Conferences ‘Like Trips to the Dentist’ is the headline of one of my Education Week Teacher columns.

Successful Student-Led School Conferences is from Middleweb.

Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets (Hojas de Consejos Para Las Reuniones de Padres y Maestros) are two hand-outs — one in English and one in Spanish — that “are designed to support educators and families in conducting productive, successful parent-teacher conferences.” They’re from the Harvard Family Research Project.

Education Research Report provides a pretty interesting summary of a study done analyzing what actually happens in parent-teacher conferences. Check-out “In Parent-Teacher Conferences, It’s Often Not About the Student.”

Student-Led Conferences: A Growing Trend comes from Education World.

Acing Parent-Teacher Conferences is the headline of an article in The Wall Street Journal. There’s nothing particularly new or insightful there, but it does some decent advice. It seems to be an unusual article to find in the mainstream media.

Student-Led Conferences is a post by Peter DeWitt at Ed Week.

Why Parent Teacher Conferences Matter is a useful post from a middle school principal, Mr. Bernia.

Student-Led Parent Conferences: How They Work in My Primary Classroom is a nice post by teacher Kathy Cassidy.

Seven Ideas for Meaningful Parent-Teacher Conferences is an excellent post by Nancy Flanagan over at Education Week Teacher.

How to hold an effective conference with parents of ELLs is by Judie Haynes. This is how she begins:

Do you feel unsure of how to hold productive conferences with the parents of your ELLs? Sharpen your communication skills by reading these tips.

It’s Show Time is a post by Jessica Lahey where she offers some excellent advice to teachers about parent conferences.

Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferencing is a good post by Elena Aguilar over at Edutopia.

Here’s how she ends it:

Don’t underestimate the power of the positive, and lead with it. Be specific in the positive data you — tell an anecdote or show a piece of work. Make sure you truly feel this positivity — we can all sniff out empty praise. There is always, always something positive and praise-worthy about every single child. It’s your job to find it and that data with parents.

Matt Davis at Edutopia has published a nice post titled Five Resources for Parent-Teacher Conferences.

How To Do Student-Led Conferences is a good post by Pernille Ripp how to organize student-led conferences with parents and teachers.

Sligo Creek Elementary moves to group meetings for parent-teacher conferences is the headline of a newspaper article about an interesting twist on on family involvement.

Here’s an excerpt:

Parent-teacher conferences at Sligo Creek Elementary School in Silver Spring are taking on a new format.

Rather than teachers meeting with individual parents and families, the conferences are moving to a group setting starting this November

How to Get the Most Out of a Parent-Teacher Conference is a useful post over at Mind Shift.

Rethinking Parent-Teacher Conferences is the subject of The New York Times feature “Room For Debate.”

It includes responses from eight educators — my favorite being Jose Luis Vilson.

Teachers switching format of parent conferences is an article in St. Louis Today sharing how teachers in one school began moving their parent-teacher conferences into student-led ones.

Principal Connection / Tips for Better Parent-Teacher Conferences is a nice article by Thomas R. Hoerr in ASCD Educational Leadership.

Here’s an excerpt:

Too often, parent-teacher conferences are seen as one-way reports from teacher to parent, but a parent-teacher conference should be a collaboration. Teachers have information to share, but they also need to allocate time for questions and discussion. We all need to work to be good listeners (I sure do), and this can be difficult for people who are used to speaking to students from a position of authority. No matter how valuable our words, if we talk so much that parents can only listen, we’re missing a chance to work together and serve our students better.

Two recent posts by parents at other blogs both made the point that they are tired of having the focus of their conversations on measuring their children by numbers.

In What parents don’t want to hear at parent-teacher conferences, Journo Adviser says:

When my wife and I sat down at our daughter’s 5th grade parent-teacher conference last week, we hoped to get a sense that the teacher understood our daughter and her strengths and weaknesses. But we didn’t.

Instead, the teacher provided us with a litany of numbers and test results the school and the education-testing industry use to define our daughter and her education.

And, in EduSanity: The No Number Parent-Teacher Conference Challenge, Jason Endacott begins this way:

I met with my sons’ teachers yesterday for parent teacher conferences. Both of their teachers are amazing in their own unique ways, but they share a common love for young people that long ago convinced me that my boys were in good hands.

I started with Cooper’s second grade teacher and after exchanging the usual pleasantries, we sat down at the little table where my adult knees didn’t quite fit and I told her I wanted to issue a friendly challenge.

“Let’s discuss Cooper’s progress in your class without using a single number that you did not generate.”

NPR offered two separate shows on Rethinking A Fall Classic: The Parent-Teacher Conference.

Three Tips to Focus Parent-Teacher Conferences On Creating a Partnership is a useful post from MindShift.

Why Students Should Take the Lead in Parent-Teacher Conferences is from MindShift.

Supporting Ongoing, Constructive, and Meaningful Conversations About Student’s Progress is from The Harvard Family Research Project.

Parent Night: Declaring Students’ Independence is from Middleweb (not exactly on conferences, but close enough).

Five Ideas to Improve Parent Conferences is a great post over at MiddleWeb.

Conference Time: Chatting with Parents is a useful post appearing at Edutopia.

How parents can maximize their time with the teacher is a short and simple article from the Las Vegas Sun. It offers some decent advice.

Successful Parent/Teacher Conferences is by Keith Howell.

3 Ideas For More Meaningful 5 Minute Parent/Teacher Conferences is by Pernille Ripp.

Pernille Ripp has an excellent collection of resources on student-led conferences.

Edudemic has published a useful piece titled A Guide to Student-Led Conferences.

Here’s how it begins:

Parent-teacher conferences provide parents with updates on their child’s progress and opportunities to see their student’s work. They also open communication between school and home. However, students often are passive, or even absent, during traditional parent-teacher conferences. One way to fix this is to put students at the helm, as they are the ones who are responsible for their work and progress.

Student-Led iConferences is a useful and very practical post by Monica Evon.

Here’s how it begins:

By this time of year, parents have a clear understanding of how their child is doing academically as well as socially. Students need the opportunity to show their parents what they are have been learning in the classroom. Each child needs the opportunity to take a leadership role and teach his/her parent. My fourth graders prepared, organized and led the conference with their parents. Since my students are the experts, they were proud and excited to share their accomplishments. Our district has had student-led conferences for as long as I remember, but this was the first time I truly took the backseat.

How to Hold Effective Conferences With Families of ELs is a very useful post by Judie Haynes over at TESOL’s blog.

Parent Teacher Conferences: Something’s Got to Give is the title of a post at Peter DeWitt’s blog in Ed Week.

Here’s an excerpt:

How many of us have sat through pointless or less-than-informational parent-teacher conferences? It often goes a little something like this: Mom asks, “How is Jeff doing in your class? I see he earned a “C,” and I want to know why.” Jeff sits silently, afraid the teacher will “spill-it” about what he has been up to in class. The teacher responds, “Sometimes Jeff does his work and is on-task, but other times he struggles to focus and talks too much. He loves to get the class going and cuts-up too much. I also have a problem with Jeff turning in his work.”

….What if we asked Jeff to articulate and provide proof his own learning? What if he prepared evidence of his learning to show himself, his teacher, and his parents what he had achieved through his own effort? What if we put him at the center of the conference and the learning?

Feedback is welcome.

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