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FACE-ing the Facts: Building Community through One-on-One Conferencing

Session 1
Tom Jones — NYC iSchool

Conferencing can improve both the authenticity and impact of student feedback. Through routine and brief face-to-face conferences with each of my students, I have begun to see my classroom as the place where the heavy lifting of learning and instruction takes place. The work I assign and my assessment of it both happen in real time and collaboratively; my students no longer struggle independently outside of the class, and I no longer handwrite comments in solitude, hoping students will read my criticism carefully and remember to apply it to the next paper or project. Instead, the discussions I have with my students allow them to be active participants in their own assessment and growth.

In this session, I will share my successes and failures with these conferences over the past sixteen months, as well as where I’ve made adjustments to improve my practice. I’ll show participants the ways in which I’ve measured student understanding and aligned my instruction to meet their persistent needs.

Conversational Practice

We will adapt the NSRF protocol for defining attributes of a learning community, giving teachers time to write about their experiences in learning communities that they believe to have been a place of positive learning.

In small groups, teachers will identify the attributes and characteristics that make a learning community “productive and satisfying.” Then, we will come together as a whole group, generate a universal list of attributes, and we will launch into a conversation around where one-on-one conferences fit into the learning community. Teachers will leave with ideas about how to incorporate one-on-one conferencing into their own practice.

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