Setting Up Conference Calls for Student-Teacher Meetings
Student-teacher meetings are important for keeping the lines of communication open in an academic environment. When utilized for student-teacher meetings, conference calling is a useful tool that can allow for easier, more convenient dialogue between teachers and their students. In today’s blog, we’ll go over some of the ways in which teachers can use conference calling as well as some tips on how to set-up a conference call or online meeting.
Why Should Teachers Have a Conference Line?
While conference lines can be used to host large conference calls with hundreds of callers, they are also a useful meeting tool for conferences of a much smaller scale. Teachers can use a free, dedicated conference line for a variety of purposes including student-teacher meetings as well as online video and screen sharing sessions for days when coming to class just isn’t feasible. Here are some of the top reasons why teachers might utilize a conference line:
One reason for teachers to make use of a conference line, even for one-on-one calls, is the greater degree of control afforded to the conference moderator. As the conference moderator, you gain the ability to mute and unmute participants on your conference line or even remove callers from your conference—something no teacher would have to do during a student-teacher meeting (hopefully!).
While it’s always good for teachers to have a close academic relationship with their students, it’s also important to set personal boundaries and maintain privacy. By utilizing a conference line rather than having a direct one-on-one phone call, you can avoid giving out your personal phone number to the other party. Additionally, call reports and participant lists only display the first 6 digits of a caller’s phone number rather than the full caller ID.
The ability to easily record conversations that take place between students and teachers can be useful for all parties involved. Conference call recordings can be used for future reference to remember important discussion points and to aide with note taking. Keeping a record of what is discussed during a private meeting can also be a valuable tool for protecting one’s name and reputation should anything said during one of these calls come into question.
Finally, many free conference calling services offer web conferencing with features such as video calling, document sharing, and screen sharing. Among the many applications of these tools for the modern, 21st-Century classroom is the ability for students and teachers to hold “virtual” meeting in situations where one or both parties are unable to be physically present.
How to Set-up a Conference Call & Student-Teacher Meeting Tips
While it doesn’t take much to learn how to set-up a conference call, there are a few things for teachers to keep in mind when preparing for and conducting student teacher conferences— whether they take place over the phone, online, or in person.
Schedule your Conference Call Online
Free conference calling services allow you to completely automate the conference scheduling process. From your online account you can set the time, date, and agenda for your call, add invitees via email, and select from a list of free and premium toll-free conference dial-in numbers for them to call with. Conference invitation emails also provide invitees the option to join your conference online with the online meeting room URL as well as to rsvp for your conference.
Establish a clear purpose and expectations
It is important that you make the expectations and objectives for each of your student-teacher conferences clear to both yourself and your students prior to meeting. Not only will this help all parties involved prepare for the meeting, but it will also make for a more productive conference. Prior to your meeting, you can provide students with a handout of the agenda for your upcoming meeting or include one in the ‘agenda’ field if you schedule your conference online.
Hopefully, you already have some rapport with the student to build on before the start of your conference, but if the semester has just started or if you’re teaching a large class, a student-teacher meeting is the perfect opportunity to begin to get to know your students individually. Going into one-on-one meetings with teachers can be very anxiety-inducing for some students so it is a good idea to start your conference off with some casual conversation. Ask your students some non-academics-related questions about themselves prior to delving into the topic(s) at hand.
Review and Wrap up
Once you’ve discussed what needs discussing, it’s time to review what you’ve gone over. This is an important part of concluding a student-teacher conference as it allows you to reinforce the major talking points for both you and your students to take away from the meeting. Before ending the meeting, it should be clear to both parties what the next steps are and what course(s) of action are to be taken before your next meeting.
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