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Voicing Out at Parent-Teacher Meetings

27 Nov 2016

Voicing Out at Parent-Teacher Meetings_1

Boon Lay Secondary School includes a student-led interaction segment during Parent-Teacher Meetings.

Parent-Teacher Meetings are important opportunities to discuss a child’s progress and encourage home-school partnership. Parents know their children, their personalities, strengths and weaknesses, while teachers have professional teaching abilities. Like all good conversations, parents and teachers need to talk and listen to each other to help the child succeed.

But what about the child’s perspective? What does he or she think?

Taking the discussion one step further, Boon Lay Secondary School includes a student-led interaction segment during Parent-Teacher Meetings. Students share with their parents what they have been doing in school, their areas of strengths or weaknesses and how parents and the school can better support them in their aspirations.

An Open Conversation

The whole process encourages students to engage in self-reflection as they identify areas for improvement, and builds a sense of accountability as they share how they think they can work towards a positive change. It is also an opportunity to voice out about any discomforts or distractions at home.

“I see the student-led interaction as a good change to discuss matters openly, matters which are bothering us students,” signed Salim Mohd Mahadeer, a deaf student in Secondary Three, who was excited about the session.

For some students who rarely have an opportunity to have a ‘sit-down’ talk with their busy parents, this session is a precious opportunity for a heartfelt and open conversation.

Some teachers were initially hesitant and concerned about whether students would be willing to express themselves. However, many were pleasantly surprised by the depth of students’ reflections.

“When teachers and parents hear the students’ perspectives, they begin to understand the rationale for the students’ behaviour and progress,” says Mdm Loo Ah Keow, a teacher with over 30 years of experience.

Sharing of Aspirations

Aside from addressing students’ concerns, the student-led interaction allows students to articulate their aspirations and how these aspirations can be met with the support from their parents and the school.

“I hope to realise my dream of becoming a pilot one day. I hope my parents and teachers can lead me to my dream,” shared student Rohit Tiwari, who appealed for support from both parents and teachers during the parent-teacher meeting.

The Parent-Teacher Meeting is more than a discussion of academic grades and scores. Hearing the perspectives and hopes of students is important and necessary for parents and teachers who wish to help the child.

But don’t let the conversation stop there. Now that parents and teachers know what the child thinks and hopes for, they can keep the dialogue going, and motivate the child more easily, one small success at a time.