As an IB World School, one of the driving beliefs at NIS is that students, as learners, should be partners in their learning and have responsibility for reflecting and setting goals as a part of the learning process. One important way we offer students this opportunity is through 3-Way Conferences, wherein conversations around learning and goal setting involve the student, parents, and teachers. The student, parents, and teacher collaborate to establish and identify the student's strengths and areas for improvement. This may lead to setting new goals, with all determining how they can support the achievement of these goals.
In the week leading up to the conferences, the teachers guide students in reflecting upon the year so far and identifying areas of strength and areas for growth. Going a little further, students will then think about WHY they feel they were more able in some areas than in others and set goals for HOW they will continue to grow and improve. Through observations and data, teachers will contribute their professional opinion to these conversations and help create a clear and actionable plan for each students' learning going forward.
These conferences focus on the key subject areas such as Science, Arts, Maths, and Languages, and they will also ask students to reflect on Approaches to Learning (ATL) Skills. These ATL Skills encompass Social Skills, Communication, Thinking Skills, Research Skills, and Self-Management Skills. At NIS, we view the development of these skills as a way in which students can develop into lifelong learners who can adapt and succeed within an ever changing world. If a student struggles in one specific area of learning, they might actually need to focus on developing skills such as time management or group decision-making. In focusing on both the acquisition of knowledge and understanding within specific subjects and learning skills necessary for success in all areas of learning, we believe that these conferences offer students the chance to set balanced learning goals.
Helpfully, these goals are often areas that parents can help develop at home. The student who sets a goal centered around improving listening skills might practice following multi-step instructions at home without needing a reminder. Similarly, a student who chooses to develop their media literacy and research skills can spend some time at home learning more about a subject of interest and having family discussions around the best sources to use when researching their topic. These are just a few of the many learning opportunities that we hope will arise as a result of the conversations that take place during 3 Way Conferences.
For the first time ever, NIS held 3 Way Conferences online due to social distancing regulations. Although we very much miss the chance to share our learning spaces with parents on this day, we also see this format as an opportunity to highlight the importance of the home-school connection regarding a child's learning. As each student joins the conference from home alongside their parents, we hope that they gain a better understanding that education is not something that just happens at school. These conferences are a time when the three most important aspects of a child's learning (the teacher, student, and parents) come together to focus on achievement and growth and will set our students up for continued reflection and success for the rest of the school year!