Student-led conferences

Student-Led Conferences

Student-Led Conferences
Student-led conferencesAt Maharishi School, we love to encourage our students to take ownership of their own education and learning experience. We want to foster a lifelong love of learning in our students. One way we cultivate the love of learning is to conduct Student-Led conferences instead of parent-teacher conferences. In student-led conferences, students come with their parents, or our boarding school students come with their host parents, to talk about how their classes are going. Students guide the conferences, showing their initiative, strengths, and areas that need improvement.
The Enrollment Management Association spoke to 2,700 families and 97% said their primary reason for considering a private school was they wanted their child to develop or maintain a love of learning. Well, of course! When you see your child so engaged that he or she actually wants to talk, then talk more about it, you just want to dance and do high fives after she leaves the room. That’s the love of learning we want to foster in our students!
After our first student-led conferences in the Upper School, parents and students were eager to share their experiences. The following are a couple of parent experiences.

Parent Experiences

Insightful DaughterStudent-led conferences

It was quite gratifying to hear our daughter express personal responsibility in describing not just the content of her classes and assignments, but also her learning process. She was quite insightful about both her strengths and the knowledge/skills that she needs to develop further, explaining the action steps she feels she should take to accomplish her goals. We were surprised and delighted at the level of ownership and holistic understanding our daughter expressed about the nuances of the learning process, her triumphs, and her struggles.
The process of the presentation is also a great way for our daughter to prepare for life after high school when she must self-evaluate to achieve personal goals without administrative oversight, as well as advocate and market herself for higher education and employment opportunities.
We were delighted and impressed!

Our Introvert

Our child is fully capable of speaking, she simply doesn’t have the energy to speak when she gets home from school. She’s an extreme introvert: being around other people drains her. Now that our loquacious son is off to college, the house is quiet at nights. Our daughter comes home, puts her head in the books, watches a half hour of Cheers, and then heads to bed at 9:30 pm. I love that she’s disciplined but, gosh, it’s really quiet.

Student-Led ConferencesWe went to Maharishi School the other night for her student-led conference. Her advisor sat quietly, and our daughter was on – addressing her learning process, what she struggled with, her triumphs, what she wants to improve, how she plans to extend herself. She took responsibility for her learning, gave an unflinchingly honest evaluation, and articulated her plan for the 2nd semester.

I realized mid-way my husband and I were grilling her as we would any other adult colleague. She was acting like a self-directed adult, and we reacted naturally.

Here’s the best part. As we were climbing into bed, we hear a knock at the door. Our daughter quietly crawls onto the bed and plops down between us, pulls out her portfolio and piece by piece she talks…about her papers, her tests, the honors program, her journal. And she keeps talking. She probably spoke more last night than we’ve heard cumulatively for 3 months – she was that jazzed about her learning and the direction she wanted to take.

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Hannah Nichols
Marketing and PR
Maharishi School
Fairfield, IA 52556