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Friday, 25 March 2011

Learning Conferences

This is of course, BLASPHEMY
Well Done

We're not teaching at Nuova Lazio High at the moment, we're having a series of individual Learning Conferences (LCs) with pupils and their families.

Some people may think I'm a reactionary, cynical and twisted old bastard, but this innovation, which replaces the traditional Parent Teacher Evenings is mostly successful and I think it really is worthwhile.

Me?  Bitter, Twisted and Cynical?

The downside is that they run during the day, and working parents find it difficult to get away from work.  We were planning on extending at least one of the days into the evening, but our Union, the PPTA, banned all work after 5:30, so we couldn't. (They lifted the ban last week while we consider the newest pay offer, but it was too late to change the planned times)

One major difference in the LCs is that the pupils do most of the work.  Well before the LC date, the pupils, with our help, complete a booklet about their goals, and the method they want to use to achieve them. This is used as a starting point to the discussion, with the subject teacher's comments, attendance statistics and a collection of the student's work being used to demonstrate his/her progress.  It's a lot different form the old days, when the adults get together, without the kids being present, and the teacher telling the caregiver what a lovely hard working child they had.  (There were plenty of more negative reports, but just for a change I'm trying to be positive)

Even some of our more difficult pupils fronted up at the LCs, and it was really heartbreaking seeing some of these poor little sods trying to get a glimmer of affection and approval from their caregivers.  Sometimes the observed behaviour of the caregivers explains a lot about the pupil's behaviour and attitude.

But some of the students and some of the caregivers never turn up. They just don't seem to care.

Blind rubber ducks just don't care either
Because I don't have a form class this year, and this first set of LCs are based around the form classes, I didn't have to attend my own LCs, but was supposed to "help out" a less experienced teacher in case they ran into trouble.  Seeing as the teacher I was assigned to has been teaching in the UK for many years, I was entirely superfluous, which was just as well, as:

  1. I have a terrible cold at the moment, coughing and sneezing everywhere
  2. Some reports were not printed (I know not why) and I had to produce them rapidly before the LC started.
  3. Some reports had missing comments, and had to be reprinted, after the teacher had added his missing comment,

Sometimes trying to get teachers to do something is like trying to herd cats.  I think it's because we're so used to being in control in a classroom, that we don't like taking instructions from anyone else.

Herding Cats with Cowboys
Never mind, I got a lot of work done, and I've almost finished a new Achievement Standard assessment.  What fun!

Keep trying to guess the answer to Why?  That bag of Jafas is up for grabs.

1 comment:

  1. I have to attend a learning conference as a parent this year - they do them exactly the same at Wellington High. I am looking forward to it, Bennett is really not - the thought of his mother being at school while him and his friends are there is a terrifying prospect (they still have some sort of classes/activities running for the day), they just get pulled out of class for the learning conference.
    It was easy for this working mother to get time off to go, if a school won't let you out of work to go to a LC then who will.


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