A note regarding the purpose and format of the conferences: The individual conferences are designed to help the student explore his/her goals and aspirations as well as reasons that he/she may choose to achieve or underachieve in school. We suggest that you spend 15-20 minutes a week in individual conferences with the student. We have structured the conferences into sessions; however, depending on the discussion within your actual session, you may cover the material more or less quickly than we have outlined. If you don’t finish an activity during one session, carry the remainder of the activity over to the next session. After session 8, the sessions follow a standard “maintenance” format. Therefore, you will easily be able to complete all of the activities, even if some of them take you 2-3 sessions.
Introductory Questions for Discussion:
(These questions are designed to help you to get to know your student better, and to begin productive conversation about utility and interests in a non-threatening way. Have fun with these questions, and try to get the student to open up and feel comfortable with you and the idea of the weekly conference format.)
What are your interests? Tell me about your favorite activities both in and out of school.
Tell me about your bext school experience.
What do you like to do when you have the day off from school?
Tell me about what you want to do and be as an adult.
There are 2 major reasons that students find value in a class.
- Interest: They are interested in the topic or enjoy the way it is presented/the work that they do in class.
- Utility: They find the information or skills they are learning useful, or they believe that they will be useful in the future.
“I want to help you to find value in my/this class so that you can succeed in it, and so that the success is somehow meaningful to you. The purpose is not for me to tell you why you should want to do well in my/this class, but rather for you to discover whether you want that for yourself. I am here to help you, but this is your journey. I want you to feel free to be honest about your feelings; however, please express yourself in a way that is appropriate for school.”
Use the the goal value exploration sentence completion activity (worksheet 1). Read the sentences to the student and ask him or her to complete the sentences. Fill in the student’s responses on the worksheet. After the conference session, analyze the student’s responses. You will discuss the student’s responses to the worksheet with him/her during session 2.
- Look for patterns within the responses on the Goal Value Exploration worksheet.
Does the student seem to have high or low interest in the class?
Does the student seem to perceive the class as having high or low utility for him/her?
- What kinds of attitudes and values does the student display?
What things do interest the student?
What does the student value?
Where does the student put forth effort?
How could some of that enthusiasm be channeled into school?