Individual conferences can help adjust curriculum to each student’s needs

Dive Brief:

  • Hybrid learning is offering students a chance to make decisions in what they study and how while also allowing teachers to spend more time assisting students, with fewer in the classroom, Emma Chiappetta, a math teacher at Wasatch Academy in Central Utah, writes for Edutopia. Chiappetta also believes this indicates assessment needs to change to fit the online and in-person environment.
  • Teachers can start that change with rubrics that only emphasize required skills and allow students options on how to use them. Additionally, individual conferences give students a chance to explain their choices, with teachers using the time to offer feedback and direction.
  • These meetings also help teachers uncover learning gaps and allow them to devote more time to each pupil.

Dive Insight:

Individual conferences can be adopted as a learning strategy, education experts say, as they are effective at finding areas where students still need support on their learning path. Curriculum can then be adjusted and tailored to students to help them regain any loss.

It’s a learning tool administrators, from those within the Washoe County School District in Nevada to the Illinois State Board of Education, encourage educators to adopt, even while acknowledging individual conferences require some effort from teachers to make the meetings successful for them as well as for students.

When used well, though, many believe meetings that allow a teacher to focus on one student can be useful for identifying pupils who may need additional support. Teachers can then offer additional scaffolding and guidance later, according to The Art of Education University. 

Conferences have additional benefits in that students may feel more ownership in their own learning, while educators in turn gain a “realistic assessment of their abilities,” said ASCD, an international organization of superintendents, principals, teachers and advocates. From there, educators can adjust curriculum for students not just based on their needs, but even tailored to their interests, according to The Learning Accelerator, which supports blended and personalized learning.

A wide range of education gaps in students could be a challenge for educators who need to assess and reach each pupil where they are on their learning path, according to The Brookings Institution. But, the organization added, by taking steps including setting “ambitious but obtainable” learning objectives, teachers could help learners regain some of what they’ve lost.

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