Parent-Teacher Conferences

Article excerpt

This column summarizes recent ERIC documents and journal articles that discuss topics related to parent-teacher conferences at the elementary and middle levels, including alternative activities such as student-led conferences. For details about ERIC and ordering ERIC documents, please see the information following these abstracts.

ERIC Documents

ED415216 PARENT-TEACHER INTERACTION FOR STUDENT SUCCESS. Judith A. Thompson & Kathy S. Hulley. 1997. 14 pp. As part of a staff development program implemented during a teacher inservice training, a packet of materials on effective strategies for conducting parent-teacher conferences was prepared. The strategies for planning the conference focus on: choosing a setting for the conference; conducting the conference; holding post-conference follow-up; avoiding potential pitfalls; handling hard-to-please parents; and conducting group conferences.

ED401042 STUDENT-LED PARENT CONFERENCES: How To Launch and Manage Conferences That Get Parents Involved and Improve Student Learning. Linda Pierce Picciotto. 1996.88 pp. (Not available from EDRS; write Scholastic Professional Books, Scholastic, Inc., P. O. Box 7502, Jefferson City, MO 65102). This guide: 1) describes the process of conducting a parent-teacher conference and outlines the benefits of conferences; 2) discusses planning steps for student-led conferences; 3) highlights the materials and activities used at conference centers; 4) presents findings from student-led conferences, especially parent and student feedback, and addresses special family situations; 5) describes possible activities for the various centers and lists questions for parents to ask their child during the activity; 6) shares the approaches of other teachers as examples; and 7) discusses, as a replacement for traditional report cards, parent, child, and teacher giving feedback to each center.

ED388449 STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES: Encouraging Student-Parent Academic Discussions. Donald G. Hackmann, James Kenworthy, & Sharon Nibbelink. 1995. 11 pp. Concerned with the shortcomings of the traditional conference model, faculty at a middle school developed a student-led conference model. Each student develops an individualized plan identifying personal goals, attends a seminar class to learn leadership skills, and compiles a packet of information they wish to share with their parents. They must be prepared to explain any unacceptable grades. Materials presented at the conference include notes on students' goals and strengths, student assignment notebooks, grade information, and portfolios. During the conferences, students and parents are encouraged to focus on problem-solving strategies and to develop a plan of action for the future. Parents have provided both positive and negative responses. Teachers overwhelmingly support the student-led conferences.

ED382310 CHANGING THE VIEW: Student-Led Parent Conferences. Terri Austin. 1994. 106 pp. (Not available from EDRS; write Heinemann, 361 Hanover Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912). This book offers an alternative to the traditional teacher-parent conference by giving students the responsibility for assessment. The process combines assessment, teacher research, parent involvement, and student-centered responsibility. The book's six chapters: 1) discuss concepts necessary for successful student-parent conferences; 2) outline preparatory steps; 3) discuss the roles of parent, student, and teacher during the conference; 4) look at post-conference reflections and comments; 5) examine assessment management issues for teachers; and 6) provide a reference for teachers on the mechanics of the student-led conference.

ED377241 STUDENT-LED PORTFOLIO CONFERENCES. F. Leon Paulson & Pearl R. Paulson. 1994. 16 pp. Well-managed conferences help parents learn more about their child's learning and progress than do traditional report cards. An additional benefit is that students take charge of their own learning. …