If you teach adolescents or adults, you have likely engaged in teacher student conferences particularly if you teach writing. Require students to prepare for conferences with you to make them successful. Here are some ideas for having productive teacher student conferences.

Tell students ahead of time what you will expect of them at conference. Give them questions to answer before the conference. Explain in class when conferences will be held, how to sign up, what to do to prepare for them, how to reschedule if necessary and remind them that conferences are required.

Let the student take the lead at the conference. The student should leave the conference feeling that her ideas were heard. If you do most of the talking, you won't hear her ideas.

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Use the time at the conference to understand what points the student is trying to make in her assignment. Unclear writing does not mean bad ideas. Students often need help conveying their ideas clearly.

Keep in mind, however, the main two or three points you want the student to leave the conference with and be sure to convey those during the conference.

Individualize the conference. Although much of what you say to each student will be similar, keep the focus appropriate for where the student is with the assignment.

Be realistic in how much you can cover during the conference. Keep in mind your time constraints during a conference.

Plan ahead to make the most of your conference time with students. If you do, your students and you will get more out of them.


  • If the conference involves a writing assignment, you might ask students to review your feedback ahead of time. Ask them to identify which parts of the writing assignment need the most improvement and which are the strongest. Tell them to bring questions they have to conference.
  • For example, if a student's overall organization of a writing assignment is poor, helping the student improve the organization should be the focus of the conference rather than grammar and sentence structure.

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