Monday, 5 October 2015

Talking to Pupils and their Parents about Learning

My school recently changed the format for our parents’ evening meetings so that the focus would be on the pupil, where they were in their learning, where we hoped they would get to at the end of the year and then a discussion around what help and support they needed to reach their target.

As our interview slots are only ten minutes long each, my colleagues and I discussed how to best make good use of the time. Several of us decided to share the agenda of the discussion with the pupils beforehand. For the part where we talked about what help they might need I made a diagram with a Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in the Centre and a list of some of the things learners need in place to be in a good place to learn, e.g. being able to cope with worries, having had enough sleep, having had breakfast, having a feeling of success with their work. I went through the list with the pupils and then asked them to do a secret poll to find out how many people thought those items were an issue. Interestingly, many of the pupils reported not having breakfast or not having enough sleep. Then at parents evening, I had the chart on the desk so parents could look over it as we were talking about how to help the children. One child turned to her parent and said, “I don’t have five of those things!”

Overall the feedback from the new format meetings was good. A few parents worried how parental concerns could be raised when the children were present but they were offered alternative meetings if they needed to talk about that. But, more importantly, the majority of the pupils were buoyed up by the meetings, some came in telling me that they had breakfast for the first time in years others were desperate to get stuck into working on their targets. 

The next step will be to work with our learners on collecting the evidence that they are meeting their targets so that they can talk about how their learning is going with their parents and carers.