CM January 12, 1996. Vol II, Number 13

image Student-Led Conferences.

Janet Millar Grant, Barbara Heffler, Kadri Mereweather.
Markham, ON: Pembroke Publishers, 1995. 128 pp, paper, $12.95.
ISBN 1-55138-054-4.

Subject Headings:
Parent-teacher conferences.
Teacher-student relationships.

Review by Katherine Matthews.


The process of Student-Led Conferencing empowers students. They play major roles in developing goals for personal growth plans and then must follow through and achieve those goals. Student-Led Conferencing supports students as they build a repertoire of skills they will need in any future learning situation.
This new type of conferencing also benefits parents in many ways. It gives them a significant role to play in their children's learning. They will thereby gain a better understanding of that learning and the school itself. It is also a more comfortable way for parents to discuss their children's progress; everyone knows what to expect and the conference can be conducted in the parents' first language.

In Student-Led Conferences, the authors seek to present educators with an alternative to the traditional parent-teacher interview, which often puts parents, unfamiliar with teacher jargon and placed in an uncomfortable and powerless position, at a disadvantage.

Student-led conferences, on the other hand, remove responsibility for directing the parent-teacher interview from the teacher, and place it squarely in the hands of the students. Students discuss their learning experiences and contributions to classroom activities, and introduce parents and teacher to facilitate further discussion of their progress

Grant, a course director at the Faculty of Education at York University, and Heffler and Mereweather, consultants with the York Region Board of Education, are all experienced teachers and have experience in the provision of support service to teachers. In their book, the authors present a thorough examination of the subject of student-led conferences, substantiated by both recent research and by practical application and testing in classroom situations.

The authors note that "successful Student-Led Conferencing requires a substantial investment of time." However, once the decision to proceed is made, the book provides an excellent support, complete with sample plans and report cards, black line masters for recording performance and reflection -- everything one needs to effectively set up this form of conferencing.

In an age where accountability for student learning and the demand for detailed information regarding student progress is paramount, Student-Led Conferences provides teachers with a way to involve students and parents more meaningfully in the process.

Highly recommended.

Katherine Matthews is a Teacher/Librarian at the Centre for Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto.

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Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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