Sunday, February 19, 2017

Finding Relationships in the Middle of Conferring

Today I am participating in Digital Learning Sunday with Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche.  This week Margaret has encouraged us to share our thoughts on relationships.

I write many posts about my relationships with my students because I know they are key to student learning.  Research overwhelmingly supports this, but many of us do not need research to affirm our beliefs.  

We live and breathe it  That is all the research we need.

I have been taking an online miniCourse from Ruth Ayres called Conferring Notes 101 Lite which is strengthening my beliefs about relationships.  She believes that "conferring is the heart of teaching writers."  But sitting right smack dab in the middle of conferring are relationships.

When we confer with students, we build relationships with them.  Pulling up a chair, sitting alongside a student, and giving them our attention let's them know that we care not only about their writing, but about them.

Effective conferring is a weakness for me, which is why I am taking advantage of Ruth's free course.  Regardless of how ineffective my conferring is, my students still need and want that one-on-one time with me.  That short period of time that I spend with a student in a conference gives me a glimpse into their writing, but also helps me to build those relationships. 

Ruth's key points in her first session are:
  • Conferring connects us to students.
  • Conferring builds confidence in student writers.
  • Conferring tailors teaching to the point of need of every student.
Each one of these is the foundation of building those relationships, which is the key to learning.

Infographic by Sylvia Duckworth


  1. Relationship is key when it comes to conferring. We must listen and respond in a way that honors the student's needs and next steps. Thanks for joining the conversation today.

  2. I just listened to Kelly Gallagher this weekend and that's what he said. Relationships are critical to student learning, even if we don't think we do it well, we need to do it. Several times he said that he is not good at it, but he knows how important it is.

  3. "Teaching and learning should bring joy" is a statement that I totally agree with. Rita Pierson championed every child she met and spread the news through her TedTalk before she passed away. Conferring allows the teacher to build a trusting relationship with each child to empower the child to create their next move as writers honing their craft.

  4. I love the Rita Pearson graphic! Something to post to keep us smiling and focused on what matters. I am taking Ruth's mini course as well. We need these gentle pushes as much as our students. Reminding us of what we need to do next to be better.