Parent Teacher Conference Outline/Checklist

I. Pre conference Planning

  1. Delineate a specific purpose for the conference.
  2. Plan an agenda for the conference.
    • Topics to be discussed
    • Questions to attend
  3. Prepare materials to bring to the conference.
    • Formal evaluations (teacher and standardized tests)
    • Informal evaluations (anecdotal records, checklists, portfolios, etc.)
    • Charts and graphs to help explain
  4. Prepare the conference environment.
    • Comfortable
    • Chair placement so as not to stress superiority
  5. Inform Parents of the conference.
    • Time, date, location
    • Purpose
    • Who or what to bring
    • Who will be there
  6. Anticipate parents’ reactions, possible developments, and expected outcomes for each.
  7. Get your self ready: try not to bring previous memories to the conference, don’t get defensive or assign blame, focus on purpose of conference, have list of questions for parents and materials for conference.
  8. Get the students ready If the student will be involved in a three way conference then review with them what the could, should, might do related to the learning goals.

II. Conference

  1. Build rapport with the parents.
    • Make introductions, offer drink
    • Express appreciation for time
    • Review the purpose and agenda
    • Acknowledge and validate their emotions
  2. State your views of the situation (state the problem).
    • Be straight forward, don’t use jargon
    • Back up your points with materials
    • Always start with a positive. Remember you’re a team
  3. Allow parents to express their views.
    • Ask questions and listen.
    • Behaviors exhibited at home
    • Situations where the behavior takes place or sustains the behavior
    • Parents’ methods for behavior control
  4. Determine parents’ reactions and needs.
    • Identify defense mechanisms
    • Detect irrational ideas that inhibit parents’ understanding of modification of the behavior
    • Listen with empathy
    • Summarize their ideas as you understand them and clarify if needed.
  5. Devise proposals and possible solutions
    • Base ideas on effective methods which fit the problem
    • State rationale for proposals
    • Seek parent ideas, reactions, and confirmations
    • Describe plan to implement to achieve success. A plan can be as simple as agreement on getting more information from other professionals to a complicated multidimensional six step intervention plan.
    • Remind everyone, a multidimensional intervention is more successful with a team approach.
    • Ask everyone if the suggestions are reasonable.
  6. Use good communication skills throughout
    • Don’t use technical jargon
    • Express empathy
    • Restate points for clarification
    • Summarize important points of the conference
    • Be considerate of the parents

III. Post-Conference

  1. Inform those concerned of what progress was made.
  2. Record minutes for reference.
  3. Follow up as necessary with parents and student.
  4. Plan for future conferences.
  5. Make recommendations.


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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