mvervinck

August 12, 2014

Conferencing

It is the last week of the summer semester which means that it is time for me to conference with my ESL students concerning the advanced writing course they are completing.  I look forward to these conferences because it allows me to stop and talk to each student about what they have accomplished this semester as well as to learn about where they plan to go from here.  Most will matriculate into their academic program of choice while others will return to their native countries to pursue other goals.

I love that these conferences take on a life of their own.  With one student, we discuss how he needs to continue to write each and every day!  Yes, his writing is better, but he still needs to work on writing more in a shorter time.  Then, the next student comes in.  She admits that she did not want to take this class because she felt her writing was good enough for academics, but now that the semester is over, she wants me to know that after looking at her writing samples from the beginning of the semester, she tells me that she needed this class more than she realized.  The third student doesn’t show up, so I meet with the next student who is a little early.  We discuss the English proficiency test he must take before being admitted for academics, and I suggest some websites for him to use to improve his vocabulary and reading skills even though we are suppose to be discussing his writing skills.  Then, before I know it, the last student shows up to meet, and we discuss the different writing classes he must take after this one.  Just as I finish with him, the student who missed his earlier appointment pops in, so I meet with him about his missing assignments that need to be made up before the end of the semester.

Just like no two students are alike, neither are any of the conferences I have held today.  Is conferencing worth it?  Without it, I would not have been able to do what I did today – help, nudge, advise, listen, and congratulate my students.  Individually?  Yes, because they are all individuals who should be treated as such.

 

 

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