What is Conferencing?
Conferencing is a process of providing one-on-one feedback to students in a safe environment. Safe, here, means that students do not feel like their work is being ridiculed or that they may face embarrassment from peers.
When you are working with a group of students and providing feedback, you run the risk of embarrassing those who know their literacy is low. However, if you remove the student from that immediate environment for a candid conversation about their work, you can improve the chances of outlining clear feedback.
How do you implement conferencing?
Here is how to set up conferencing with students:
- At the start of the class, write a list of six names on the whiteboard.
- Next to each name record a time allocation. Divide into increments of 5 minutes. For example, 11:30, 11:35, 11:40.
- Inform students that you will be providing feedback to those students. Watching the clock, students will come up to the front or back of the classroom where a desk has been set up and show the teacher what writing has been complete.
- Please note, this is not a space for ridicule or accuse the student of not doing any work. It is a space for
- Ask the student to present what they have complete. Based on their work, you can do a number of things. Keep it simple:
- Check the marking rubric. Use the rubric to inform student how to improve.
- Provide written feedback on spelling, grammar and structure.
- Assist with generating ideas, such as plot diagrams or organising an essay.
- Students return to their desk and work on the feedback you have provided.
Benefits of Conferencing
- Students can see that you care about their work and progress. You are actively listening to what they are doing and not judging the work.
- You generate a deeper insight into the students thought process. You might discover what they enjoy doing (Especially if they have worked this into their short stories).
- The conference is conversational. It allows you to break the teacher/student model and show that you are human.
- It saves time as the feedback is direct. Students know what they need to do immediately without interpreting your notes later in isolation.
Conferencing is best when students are working independently on a task, for example a self-directed assessment. This provides you with the chance to call students up one at a time.
Here is a wonder video on student conferencing that you might find helpful: