Parent teacher conference

Parent teacher conference

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  • When a student does not appear to be performing to the level of his or her capacity, the primary goal of the parent teacher conference is to find out why. Is it a problem of effort, a problem of ability, or a problem of learning?
  • Mr. Smith, I have some of Annie's test scores here for you to look at. She's a very bright girl, and I don't think these scores are reflective of her abilities. I'm hoping you can help me figure out what's going on.
  • You might have an inkling as to the answer, and you can offer a suggestion, but what is most important in this scenario is listening to the parent. Parents (usually) know their kids best, and can provide you with valuable insight if you present yourself as a caring and neutral listener (Aguilar, 2012).
  • Could you give me some insight into what might be keeping Annie from reaching her potential?
  • You should offer the student's test results tactfully, without making any initial judgements on or assumptions of the students' ability. The key is to simply offer the parent some data, tell them you believe the student is capable of doing better, and then let them talk to YOU.
  • Well, it's nice to hear you think she's so talented. I don't think Annie thinks she is good at math. She avoids doing homework because she says it's hard.
  • Islam's 2016 study showed that under-performing students improved with regular, face-to-face parent-teacher conferences. Islam theorized that the regular meetings led to increased parental involvement in student learning; results did not vary with student age.
  • Okay, I can address that here at school by giving her positive feedback, and offering extra help via tutoring sessions and one-one-one time during class. But it will be more successful if you and I work together. 
  • With that in mind, you might recommend to the parent of the underperforming student that they engage in regular face-to-face meetings for a set period of time so you can work together on the student's progress in a structured manner.
  • Are you able to schedule a few regular meetings with me over the next few months? We can plan together and discuss our progress.
  • I'm not sure, work is so crazy right now....
  • If either you or the parent don't have the time or opportunity to meet regularly, you might ask the parent to collaborate on an academic achievement plan in a shared Google Doc to ensure you get that increase in parental involvement that Islam (2016) found was so necessary for underperforming students.
  • I understand. What if we collaborated on a Google Doc and communicated electronically? I have a form I use for situations like this where we can write goals, set deadlines, and involve Annie in the process.
  • Now, that I can do!
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