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Monday, 21 June 2010

3-Way Interviews

Graphic: From Jamin Lietze's postMy friend Jamin Lietze wrote a very interesting post back in May. I have a very high regard for the work that he has put into developing e-Portfolio understanding for Primary schools in NewZealand. However, he raised an issue that I first came across in the work of John Pallister (some 4 years ago) in the UK and his work for MOSEP.

At that time John Pallister was running his 'eME' portfolio system 'in house' and, just like Jamin, used the student's e-Portfolio as the medium for discussion at short school-based 'Parent-Teacher Interviews'. The children would show their parents examples of work showcased from their VLE-based 'eME' system, parents would "Ooo!" and "Ahh!" at the right places and generally would see work that they had not seen before or did not even know about.

Obviously, as long as the majority of parents do not have on-line access to their child's VLE this 'shock-of-the-unknown' will continue in the same way as parent-teacher meetings did long before computers arrived in schools. But this brings out a valuable point. As more and more schools are opening up their VLEs for home access so the shock of the unknown or misunderstood should soon disappear. The regular sharing of learning experiences by children with their parents, mentors and peers will encourage both face-to-face and on-line feedback which will make the traditional parent-teacher meeting obsolete. Instead, one would hope that the 3-Way meeting will become a time of social pleasantries, celebration and constructive discussions where all are better informed. - Even cups of tea and cucumber sandwiches to talk over! (Never like that in my day!)

Perhaps the traditional 'Parents Evening' might even become a thing of the past?


Mr Lietze said...

Ray, I look forward to when Parents (and extended family) are more involved in their child's ePortfolios.

Recently I have given all my Parents their own logins to their child's ePortfolios. I did this via a large Parent meeting and it went well. I presented the purpose and value of the ePortfolio and showed them how to leave helpful feedback and feedforward. Since this meeting I have seen some good Parental interactions but are a little disappointed with the frequency. However this hasn't surprised me and is a trend I hear around NZ.

I believe improving this comes down to Parental education. We need to keep informing Parents about the role of the ePortfolio, how they can be a part of their child's learning and present some healthy expectations.

What do you think? Have you found some successful ways to foster greater Parental interactions?

Ray Tolley said...

One of the best examples I’ve seen is from Grays School in East Sussex. There is a 10 minute film that I highly recommend all practitioners to watch. It summarises the vision, how the Headteacher led the school (staff, parents & children), the impact, and future plans.

Film (YouTube) embedded at:

For those who have YouTube filtered, there is a wmv version of the film on the school learning platform:

The example is an Infant & Nursery School, but at the East Sussex Annual Conference last week Christine Terrey (the Headteacher at Grays) presented this to an audience which included Secondary Teachers – all of whom talked about how useful it was. The age of the children may vary, but the principles behind meaningful parental engagement are certainly shared.

In Grays case, the message is very clear; that Children, their Parents and their Teachers have a shared understanding of what the aspirations for the child’s learning are (both academic and pastoral), and with this shared vision, work together towards these goals both at home & school.

The team at East Sussex County Council have done a superb job in supporting the spread of this good practice. This style of practice started at Grays, but is now present across primary & secondary schools in the local authority area. It’s worth looking at some of the resources and support that have been used, on the East Sussex learning platform:

Best wishes, Fiona

Fiona Aubrey-Smith
Head of Educational Development

Telephone: 07825 940 827
Address: UniServity | Soane Point | 6-8 Market Place | Reading | RG1 2EG

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Matt Montagne said...

Ray, I've been thinking about the relevance of traditional parent-teacher conferences in an era of immediate information access for quite some time now. It just doesn't make sense that parents should have to wait for conferences or quarterly report cards to have a conversation about their child's progress. I, too, would love to see the focus of the parent-teacher conferences switch to become more social and celebratory in nature.