Saturday, 2 April 2016

Parent Teacher Interviews

It has been many years since I had to go to a parent teacher interview as a parent, so it was exciting that my daughter wanted me to go along to her daughter's first college parent teacher evening.

"What do you want to find out about your teenager?"  I asked my daughter.
"I want to find out how well she is doing compared to all the other students," she said.
"Why do you want to know that?"
"So I can compare her with the other students."
"So I know if she is going to be able to compete with others to get where she wants to go."
"So why don't you ask what she needs to learn, what are her next learning goals and what learning outcomes are important?"
"Because I want to find out if she is going to do as well as other students."
"I think you have been brainwashed."  I said, and then added, "what makes your daughter special and different from other learners so that when she applies for a position or a place at university, they can see that she has expertise and interests in areas that others do not have?"
"Well she IS a great organiser, she is very creative, and she does get along with people and she can convey her feelings well."
"Right, lets start with the key competencies and also find out what she has to learn to do in each of her subjects."

And so we began the interviews.  We wanted to know what the learning outcomes were in each class. That was not easily available nor explicit.  Generally we learned a lot about the activities that she was doing and how she was behaving when she did them but not exactly why she was doing them.

We got a pretty good idea of where she was compared to other students.  I found myself wondering if there was a better way, for parents to understand what supports are needed for their children to develop into the best person they can possibly be, than a 5 minute scramble to see teachers that another 5 parents were waiting to see.

I have lots of ideas.  What ideas do you have?

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