5) Relevant Journal Articles

” Student Empowerment Through Student-Led Conferences “

By: Donald Hackmann, James Kenworthy, and Sharon Nibbelink

student-led conference

A young student leading a student-led conference, explaining to her mother and teacher her learning progress and self-evaluation.

Parent-teacher conference has been the traditional medium for formal communication between the school and parents on students’ school performances. Since students have firsthand knowledge regarding their academic performances and interests, they should be encouraged to participate equally in discussing their own academic progress, discipline problems, implementation of educational programs, etc. This journal article demonstrates how a student-led conference allows students to be active participants in their own performance evaluation as well as their own learning experience.

Student-led conference model addresses the following goals:

  • To encourage students to accept responsibility for their academic progress
  • To encourage students, parents, and teachers to openly communicate as equal partners
  • To facilitate the development of students’ oral communication skills and self-confidence
  • To increase parent participation in the conferences

As a result of student-led conference, students gain practice the skill to self-advocate by reflecting upon their own learning progress. They gain the experience speaking orally to their parents and teachers about their learning experience as well as their plans for improvement. If students are allowed to take part in their learning, they will develop a sense of empowerment and self-efficacy. Consequently, students will continue to self-advocate for what is best for their own learning and result in better academic or behavioral performance.

A boy showing confidence by giving a thumb up!

Hackmann, D., Kenworthy, J., & Nibbelink, S. (1998). Student empowerment through student-led conferences. Middle School Journal, 30(1),
35-39. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/62303644?accountid=15182

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Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills to Middle School Students with Learning Disabilities ”

By: Jennifer Susan Melgmre

The Author, Melgmre, worries for the large amount of students with learning disabilities entering postsecondary education that lack self-advocacy skills. They lack the self-advocacy skills to demand for services necessary for them and they lack the basic understanding of the nature of their disability. Melgmre emphasizes the importance of self-advocacy skills because students with learning disabilities need to realize that accommodations are their legal rights, and they should be able to claim it with no obstacles!

Melgmre implemented a self-advocacy curriculum to 20 eighth grade students with learning disabilities. In this learning setting, students with learning disabilities first learned about themselves as individuals, their disabilities as being part of their characters, their rights, and effective communication skills to others. Once they grew self-awareness, students with learning disabilities practiced social skills to request for accommodations. Furthermore, students were able to identify their own strengths and weaknesses to teachers, future employees, and their peers.

As a result of the self-advocacy curriculum, the 20 eighth grade students with learning disabilities could exert personal control, gain higher levels of self-efficacy and regard the locus of control as being within themselves. In addition, students with learning disabilities in the self-advocacy program were slowly able to attribute success to their own hard work and ability while attribute failure to uncontrollable external factors. In the end, these students prospered by developing a higher level of self-concept.

The author, Melgmre, concluded by stating (2010): “For when LD students become effective communicators, they become advocates, not only for themselves, but for other LD students. When we encourage students with disabilities to speak for themselves, we are developing future leaders in the disability rights movement”.

Diverse children playing on a slide

Children with self-advocacy skills create a greater community for each other.

Meglemre, J. S.Teaching self-advocacy skills to middle school students with learning disabilities. , 210-210. Retrieved from
http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/964170233?accountid=15182. (964170233; ED524190).

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