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Blog: Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Student-Led Conferences Build on Student Competencies

Twenty years ago, as a classroom teacher, I used student-led conferences as a means for children to communicate their learning to their parents. This year, the teachers at Ten-Broeck were all in favour of doing this school-wide for the Parent-Teacher Conference Day. We could all see how it clearly aligned with the philosophy behind the new re-designed curriculum, in particular, the core competencies of communication, thinking, and personal and social awareness.

According to the new BC curriculum, it is expected that students will develop a “Positive Personal & Cultural Identity” which involves the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of things that contribute to a healthy sense of oneself, including “one’s family background, heritage(s), language(s), beliefs, and perspectives in a pluralistic society.”

Ten-Broeck Elementary mirrors that pluralistic society. The school is located in a mixed commercial and residential area, including rental apartments, gated communities, and retail outlets. We provide a breakfast club and lunch program for students in financial need. Over one-third of the students have a language other than English as their mother tongue, such as Punjabi, Tagalog, Arabic, and Urdu. In addition, there are approximately forty-five students of Aboriginal ancestry.

As a principal, it is a privilege to walk through the halls and classrooms to meet and greet the families and see the buzzing activity during these conferences. I was delighted to see the smiles on the children’s faces as they shared their learning with their parents. The focus was on their personal strengths, not their deficits. It didn’t matter if their parents weren’t able to speak English because the children were able to use their first language to explain their learning. If there were siblings, they too were part of the sharing (or they visited with the learning commons teacher). The sense of community was strong and children left feeling a little bit taller!

BONNIE IFTODY
Principal, Ten-Broeck Elementary