- Individual conferences with students are crucial to helping support, strengthen and develop math skills — whether classes and meetings are in-person or remote, Zachary Maher, a K-8 mathematics instructional coach in North Haven, Connecticut, wrote for Edutopia.
- Ideally, a conference lasts between five to seven minutes and allows students to show their teacher what they’re working on, with educators first listening. While offering compliments can help boost students' feelings about their work, showing them tools they can use and assigning them next steps can be helpful, too. Teachers should also use clear language.
- Educators should look to meet students one to two times a week, taking notes or even recording the conference to refer back to for future meetings.
One-to-one conferences can offer teachers more than just time to examine a student's progress and identify areas where they need additional scaffolding and support. These meetings can also help to alleviate a student's concerns, learn more about their personal interests and even support a better student-teacher rapport. Knowing where a student's interests may dovetail with the curriculum and future assignments, for instance, can help teachers find ways to align lessons or projects in ways that may help better engage students.
Likewise, educators may want to allow students to defend their work, a step that can help them develop crucial soft skills. These are tools students can use not only in the classroom but also in a future job, from knowing how to speak confidently to learning how to organize and prepare for meetings, even one with their teacher.
ASCD suggests educators prepare handwritten notes in advance of the meetings so they can be more present and listen to students about their concerns. In this way, teachers can uncover more about their pupils, and better support them in their learning endeavors, the organization says.