Academic Conversations

International and Starpath’s ongoing research indicate that purposeful engagement with students and their families is critical to student success.


Such engagement involves regular two-way conversations between a student and a designated teacher (academic counselling/coaching/mentoring), and periodic, three-way, parent-student-teacher conversations, as well as data-based teacher core group meetings.

To be effective, academic conversations with students and their parents/whānau need to be data based, individualised and responsive to each student’s personal situation, focussed on learning and achievement rather than behaviour, and be genuinely interactive, allowing students and parents as well as teachers to offer their views, ask questions, clarify understandings, and contribute to goal setting and planning.

Parental/whānau engagement initiated through parent-student-teacher conferences is critical to developing trust and rapport that can support students in setting and achieving their academic goals.

The sections below provide practical resources and case studies to support the implementation of academic conversations. More information about how to manage the data that underpin academic conversations can be found in the Working with Data section.