Conferring About Behavior


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Some people think a conference is based on academic goals and strategies, and they often are. But if students struggle with focusing or staying on task, those behaviors also need attention if students are to make desired progress. Pam Pogson confers with Matthew, a sixth grader, who knows quite a bit about himself as a learner. He expresses his need to sit where he can’t see anyone so he can stay focused on his reading. Pam keeps track of this conference in her paper/pencil conferring notebook.

Listen and Watch

  • What questions does Pam ask?
  • What do you notice about Pam’s tone of voice and the types of questions she asks?
  • How does Matthew respond to the questions and the outcome of the meeting?


Pam tells Matthew that distractions will be part of his entire school career. She commits to helping him figure out what works and starts by asking, “What has worked for you before to keep your focus?” Would this kind of conversation be beneficial for a student you are working with?

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