Developing Agency With Student-Led Conferences

When students lead meetings with their parents and teachers, they gain a voice in their education and develop skills like goal-setting and metacognition.

Video Transcript

Alec: With my peers, it’s really hard for me to apologize. So I was wondering if you guys have any tips.

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond: A really important aspect of learning is developing agency and responsibility. That also requires being resourceful. It requires being metacognitive, being able to reflect on where you are and what you need to do to move forward. And we see all of that in the student-led conference.

Lynnel Reed: So often in anything that you do in education, in life, students always feel like, oh, adults are always saying their opinion. I don’t have a voice. I never have any say. So part of what we do with the student-led meetings is they get a chance to say what their concerns are, how they see things.

Alec: Welcome, everyone.

Dan St. Louis: Alec led his own meeting today. And we bring in all teachers, me, parents, to say here are some strengths of mine and here are some challenges that I need help with.

Alec: With my schoolwork and tests and stuff, it’s pretty good. But when it comes to homework, it’s really bad.

It allows all of us to get all on the same page. Homework really hurt my grades this quarter, so that’s something I really need to improve.

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond: In student-led conferences, we see students learning these skills of how to articulate their needs, make plans to improve, get help from others, and own the goals that they set for themselves.

Alec: The second I get home, I don’t feel like doing anything else involving school. So I was actually going to ask you guys if you guys had any ideas.

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond: Social-emotional competencies have to do with the ways that we recognize our emotions and manage them, the ways in which we interact interpersonally with others, the ways in which we organize ourselves to get things done.

Alec: For me, it’s actually being able to sit down and get it done. Because once I sit down to get it done, it’s going to get done. Getting started is the hardest part for me.

Teacher: Just staying after and doing homework with your friends before you go home is a good idea.

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond:: Interestingly, the social and emotional competencies are as important as the intellectual skills that we try to teach in school, and they predict more of how you do in school and in life than particular lessons that get taught academically.

Jennifer: I think it’s about him having to set goals for himself and for us to give him the best tools to work with so that he can accomplish those goals.

Chad: And then, you be able to see yourself in a new light, which only gives you more of that confidence.

The fact that he has eight or nine, ten, adults for these meetings to actually get on the same page and say, look. We recognize you’re here. We see where you’ve come from. And we want you to tell us where you want to go. And just having that collaboration is– it’s wonderful.

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond: When schools and parents are working in sync around a shared understanding of a child’s development, you get a much more robust set of responses and supports.

Alec: Yeah. I just wanted to thank Mr. St. Louis real quick, and all of you, for being such good teachers. I think I improved more just because I got a personal relationship with all of you.

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