Learner Profiles Power Positive Conferences

A Learner Profile can help guide parent-teacher conferences to make them more insightful.
"In appearance, a Learner Profile may look like a social media page; but in reality, it’s a powerful tool to build reflection, self-knowledge and pride in hard work."

Early October is parent-teacher conference season, one of the most underutilized and underappreciated parts of the school year. Conferences are an opportunity to gather the stakeholders in a learner’s education to ensure that they are all on the same page and working toward the same goals. However, these valuable opportunities are often missed or squandered because, unless a student is failing or exhibiting significant behavior issues, teachers often don’t know what to say other than “They’re doing great!”

Learner Profiles, included in some learning relationship management platforms (LRMs) provide the tools and talking points to take conferences back and make those weeks in early October meaningful again. A Learner Profile is a personalized, individual space for each student in which he or she can express their personality, reflect on their abilities and begin to connect their authentic life to what they’re studying in school. In appearance, a Learner Profile may look like a social media page; but in reality, it’s a powerful tool to build reflection, self-knowledge and pride in hard work.

The power of the Learner Profile comes from the collaboration between students, teachers and parents or guardians at home. Any stakeholder can help students identify their likes, dislikes, strengths, struggles and goals, which can be entered into the profile. This process requires the learner, as well as their support system of educators and family, to think hard about their unique personality, skills that can be leveraged as assets and challenges that must be worked through for success. In this way, Learner Profiles build the metacognitive skill necessary for high-level learning to take place.

If students and stakeholders use the early part of the school year to develop Learner Profiles, then it will be abundantly clear what needs to be discussed at October conferences. For schools and districts that hold traditional parent-teacher conferences without learners present, a Learner Profile gives voice and representation to each student, even if they’re not in the room. It immediately becomes easier to talk about strengths and struggles, and any discussion of weakness is framed as reflective with eye toward improvement rather than punitive.

For student-led conferences, Learner Profiles provide structure and ground students in reality. Many teachers have had the experience of attempting a student-led conference, only to hear students provide shallow or flawed insights into their ongoing educational experience. Developing and using a Learner Profile, however, prevents that from ever happening because students are accustomed to thinking of themselves as learners and assessing themselves honestly.

Regardless of how your school, district or classroom conducts conferences, Learner Profiles can help guide and deepen positive, meaningful discussions. To learn more about the power of Learner Profiles, schedule a demo of Epiphany Learning today!

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