How you interact with parent(s) during Parent-Teacher Conference nights can be instrumental in establishing rapport and establishing lines of communication that last throughout the school year. In this activity you will learn about effective procedures and interaction strategies to run a good conference.

1. Have you ever participated in a parent-teacher conference? If so, think about the procedures for running the conference and the ways to interact with the parent(s) that you found to be effective. Take 5 minutes and make a list of those items. If you have not participated in a parent-teacher conference, try to attend one! If this is impossible at this point in time, please try to think about what makes for good procedures and interactions when you are in different situations in your life (e.g., at the doctor’s office, with a colleague, with a teacher, or with a friend). List your ideas about what makes for effective procedures and interactions to ensure a good conversation.

2. After making your own list, watch the following video. Think about how this teacher conducts his parent-teacher conference. Take notes about his procedures and interaction strategies and compare them with your brainstorming list.

Since 1992, Waikiki Elementary School has adopted Dr. Art Costa’s Habits of Mind philosophy as a framework to prepare all students to be efficient and effective problem solvers by behaving intelligently. As part of this philosophy, all parent-teacher conferences involve student input regarding their own goals and progress.

This video showcases a 4th grade parent-teacher conference, centered around the student’s presentation of her goals and celebrations. John, the teacher, has been teaching at Waikiki Elementary School for 11 years and is a graduate of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s College of Education MEdT program. Kalae is a 4th grader in his class. Her brother was also a student of John’s two years ago. This conference took place in late October.


Reflection Guide

1.  What were the goals of the teacher for this parent-teacher conference? What were the goals for the parents? for the student? How do the three set of goals compare (align, misalign, overlap, etc.)?

2.  What was achieved through this conference for the teacher? for the parents? for the student? Were all achievements equally distributed?

3.  What questions and concerns did the parents have and how were they addressed?

4.  How did the student contribute to this parent-teacher conference? How does involving students in parent-teacher conferences shape the process and outcome of the event?

5.  What were some positive points about this parent-teacher conference?

6.  What are some areas that could be improved in this parent-teacher conference?