Students have a say

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 14:25 13/06/2012

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Linkwater School pupils are telling their teachers what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.

The school held its first student-led conferences on Thursday and Friday last week, where pupils show their parents the work they have done and where they want to improve, as opposed to the traditional parent-teacher meetings.

The pupils presented their work portfolios in curriculum areas such as English, art and maths, and discussed the process of learning and the progress made to date during the conferences with their teachers on-hand to contribute.

Linkwater School principal Debbie Leov said the pupils developed their ability to talk about their learning progress, which helped them and their parents get a better understanding of their education.

"It is all about helping kids to take responsibility for their learning.

"They build their knowledge by communicating what they already know and the teacher helps them identify areas they need to improve."

The students presented their graded work along with the curriculum goals it needed to achieve, supplied by teachers, which were ticked off once completed.

The goals were then replaced with tougher challenges desired by the students in accordance with their teacher.

"It has proved hugely popular with the students and their parents, it gets them involved and communicating.

"We thought they might be a bit quiet the first time but they've been very enthusiastic."

Linkwater School pupil Haylee-Ann Woodward, 12, said she chatted to her mum for about half an hour, well over the allocated 20 minutes.

"I had my Mum come and I talked to her about what I've been doing and the teacher didn't really talk. I told her I really wanted to get better at art."

The Year 8 pupil enjoyed the student-led style of assessment and preferred it to the previous parent-teacher conferences.

"This way I got to talk a lot more and the teacher was there to help. Dad didn't come so I gave him the stitch-up later that night," she said with a smile.

"Mum thought it was great and thinks I'm doing well."

The Education Ministry website states that student-led conferences are consistent with the effective assessment of the New Zealand school curriculum and most schools report a "significant rise in parent satisfaction" with their child's learning.

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- The Marlborough Express

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