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Les Potter is currently the director of the American International School West in Cairo, Egypt. Les has over 40 years in educational leadership in the US and Egypt and most recently has been a...
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Parent-Teacher Conferences

For many, many years parents have met with teachers to check their child’s progress at school. This could be meetings concerning academics, social, behavior, or a combination there of. Since the student’s progress is the focus of the meeting, who knows better about the situation than the parent and the student. This is particularly true if the teacher and student are planning, agreeing upon, and assessing the student’s learning progress.

Obviously, these conferences which include the child needs to be age appropriate. Teachers should use good judgment on age appropriateness for these three-way conferences. In the three-way conferences, the student takes an active role in reporting his or her progress to parents. The teacher’s task is to guide and direct the activity. I would also recommend that the teacher have her/him grade book and other informational sources during the conference as occasionally the student’s recollection might differ from the teacher.

Advocates of student-led parent-teacher conferences have pointed out that teachers who have tried three-way conferences have reported positive results. The benefits of such a conference are:

  • Greater feelings of security on the part of students
  • Better use of time, less wandering from the topic
  • More complete information for the parent
  • Opportunity to facilitate the resolution of parent-student disagreements
  • Less chance of misunderstanding, everyone hears the views of the others directly
  • Better planning for future learning
  • Greater feelings of parent-student unity
  • Education process is more likely to be regarded as cooperative rather than competitive
  • Increased desire by the student to carry out decisions since they participate in making them
  • Increased feelings of cooperation by all participates

The procedure for scheduling and conducting these conferences should be set by each individual school to meet local needs. Fred Lunenburg uses a three-way conference techniques that I will mention in future posts.

 

Les Potter, Ed. D.

Director
American International School West
Cairo, Egypt