What Are SLCs And Why Do We Do It?

Jeff Govani

A student-led conference is more than a parent teacher conference that the student sits in on. The focus is on the student, rather than about the student. It helps them feel empowered to really own their learning by providing space for them to have their thoughts and opinions heard by some of the most important adults in their life: their parents and their teacher.

One of the reasons that I really love SLCs is because it helps the student reflect on each part of the project and draw out the bigger learnings. This requires a great deal of planning and preparation from both the teacher and the student but it pays off. Sometimes kids get stuck on the what we did for each part of a project but they don’t think about the why, or about how that learning has impacted them. A student-led conference helps us to go back and make sure that this important thinking, this metacognition is happening.

With each SLC that a student does, they begin to realize that the quality of their work is valued and that it is worth examining. The self reflection makes their accomplishments and goals seem very real. Although I try to keep it pressure free, students realize that this is an important conversation. The audience and content is high stakes and, as the SLC draws nearer, kids realize how important it is to plan and to prepare. If a child has not been taking the work seriously, I find that they often have an epiphany moment in the conference where they realize how important their learning is and how much they want to do well. When these moments happen, the parent and the teacher can help the student to think about how they can do things differently in order to accomplish their goals.

After the SLC I find that students are more motivated to work on their goals because they know people are paying attention and because they have been able to share their experiences and they have been listened to. It helps build upon and cultivate the intrinsic desire to do well.

(From the High Tech Elementary Explorer series, What is…and Why do we do it?)