Conferences in the Adolescent Program look a little different from conferences at other levels. In order to give the adolescent the opportunity to self-advocate, students are not only present but lead these conferences with their advisor and parents.
“The adolescent must never be treated as a child, for that is a stage of life that he has surpassed. It is better to treat an adolescent as if he had greater value than he actually shows than as if he had less and let him feel that his merits and self-respect are disregarded.”Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence
Parents and guides can contribute and ask questions, but the student sets their own pace and leads the discussion of their work. They work with their advisor to prepare for their conferences and look at the goals that they set out for themselves at the start of the year.
Students prepare for these conferences by organizing all their work from the trimester and selecting pieces of work they would like to share from all of their subject areas. These may be pieces that they are particularly proud of that show the skills they have learned, or they may be pieces that the student struggled with learned from their mistakes. At Arbor, we believe that all of the work our students complete, is a learning experience.
Students also complete the “Preparing for Conferences” form and write their own notes to use in their conference presentation. They are encouraged to practice and role-play their conference presentation in advance.
By advocating for themselves and leading the conferences during their time in the Adolescent Program, the student takes an important step in expressing their independence and advancing their journey to adulthood.