03.07.2020

Learner-Led Conferences

iLEAD Agua Dulce Presentation of Learning

Learner-Led Conferences (LLCs) are around the corner. They will be held on Friday, March 13; Thursday, March 19 (minimum day); and Friday, March 20. These conferences create a purposeful way for learners to talk with adults about their learning and offer parents a direct and active role in their child’s school life.

What to Expect at Learner-Led Conferences

A Learner-Led Conference not only offers your learner a real voice in the assessment of their learning, but it also offers them practice in speaking to their strengths. This will prepare them for the real-life experience of talking to potential employers as they get older. This process is more of a performance than an evaluation; your learner will compile what they’ve been learning and review this process with you, the family member.

The first conference can be overwhelming, and learners may be nervous. They will need support from you. Facilitators are at the conference for support only. All the information about a learner’s work, progress, behavior, goals, and grades will come from the learner. If you would like to talk to a facilitator about specifics, there will be sign-up sheets to schedule a time with your learner’s advisor at a later date.

What’s the Role of the Parent at an LLC?

Parents play an important supportive role in this process. The focus of the conference is on learning and growth, not simply a show-and-tell display of work. It’s a time for families to “sit beside” their child, listen to and trust their child’s assessment of their own learning, and ask good questions. Families may also work with the child to set new goals based on the discussion during the conference.

The following is a guide for families:

  • Please consider bringing a pad of paper to jot down questions you have as your child presents rather than commenting during their presentation.
  • You may wish to wait until your learner has finished presenting to bring up any concerns or suggestions.
  • Please consider phrasing your questions in an open-ended way: “Why is this a good example of…?” or “Tell me about this piece.”
  • Please consider focusing on the big picture and not “the single spelling error.”
  • Conferences offer learners and families the opportunity for a sustained and focused conversation about learning.
  • LLCs honor the learner as knowledgeable about their accomplishments and offer them the chance to set goals to address areas that challenge them.
  • By granting learners an active and meaningful role in assessing and interpreting their own learning, LLCs provide an authentic context for self-evaluation — a context that fosters accountability and the honest appraisal of both successes and challenges.

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