My kids have just had a four day weekend, due to parent-teacher meetings scheduled for Thursday and Friday. This really threw me off kilter, and I was convinced that Thursday was actually Saturday and Friday Sunday. Needless to say I got no writing done and little of anything else for that matter.

But I wanted to share with you the format that these parent-teacher meetings take. Chatsworth International School has introduced the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB) and as part of this programme, the meeting is actually 'Parent-Teacher-Student-Conference', or PTSC. All this jargon is very difficult at first to comprehend, but it gets easier with practice believe me.

The PTSC happens twice a year, and the student is an integral part of the 'conference', which lasts about half an hour. He or she sits with the parent/s and the teacher, and we look over the child's portfolio of work from the proceeding half year. Discussion is encouraged, and the child will present the portfolio and talk about different aspects of it.

The teacher helps the student come up with some targets for the next few months. These targets are written down and hopefully these areas will be improved on. The targets can be something like 'remember to use full-stops and space out my words' or 'try to use paragraphs in my writing'. It can also be behaviour oriented goals, such as 'I will raise my hand in class rather than shouting out the answer'.

I think this is an excellent way of making the child understand the importance of improvement without it feeling like a punishment. They are included in the decision making and are working with the teacher and parents towards a positive end. The child has an opportunity to show off her work to her parents and feel proud of her achievements.

It is a leap from the way these meetings were held in my day. Why should the student be excluded from the discussions? It is great for their self confidence to hear their work praised and also get some realistic feedback. It is for their benefit after all, that these meetings happen, rather than just to keep the parents informed. This approach feels like we are killing two birds with one stone.

Does your child's school have a similar programme? Do you think it works, or would you rather a good chat with the teacher without the student present?


Anonymous said... @ March 20, 2009 at 4:57 PM

In local schools the PTC normally happens before the June holiday and it is once a year. However we do give parents on going feedback about their kids performance. Via their handbook/e-mails etc.

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