THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDENT VOICE

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At Matahui School we regard our relationship with parents and caregivers as a partnership. Communicating with them is important, hence the conversations we have with them and the report we write about the progress their children are making as learners are significant, but the most powerful form of reporting we undertake at the school is our end of year Student-Led Conferences.

The Student-Led Conference is a formal method of reporting where the students have the opportunity to discuss, present and demonstrate their understanding of what they have learned throughout the year, sharing the progress they have made with their family.

“Enabling” students so that we give them ownership and a genuine sense of responsibility for their learning so that they can discuss their work, reflect on and review their goals, and share their progress with their parents/caregivers is highly effective in giving the students a “voice.”

The student’s role becomes one of a leader/facilitator and throughout all stages of a Student-Led Conference, preparation, implementation and evaluation, the student is the key person.

Through involving and engaging parents/caregivers directly in how the students at Matahui School approach learning for understanding, the Student-Led Conference becomes an ideal opportunity to celebrate a child’s achievements as they present their learning portfolios.

The portfolios (which look different at each Year level), produced by the students, provide them with an opportunity to; identify strengths and learning challenges; demonstrate skills; discuss key and significant ideas and concepts; develop tasks for adults to undertake during the conference; collect evidence over time to illustrate progress during their learning journey; demonstrate self-reflection/self-assessment; verbalise why they have chosen to showcase specific pieces in their collection; and where appropriate, demonstrate what they have learned.

Our parents and caregivers truly become partners in learning when the students lead a conference. When students have a meaningful audience in addition to the classroom teacher, their learning takes on increased importance and relevance.

Listening to the child’s voice as they retrace their educational journey becomes much more meaningful and memorable than the words drafted in a written report. For us at Matahui School these conferences are the highlight of the academic year.

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