I had the opportunity to facilitate a strategic thinking retreat for one of Canada’s independent schools. It was an opportunity for 40 or so members of the school community to identify and prioritize the school’s future directions. I was delighted when the strategic thinking committee confirmed that they would invite students to join the retreat. As expected, the students were passionate and insightful – when they spoke, everyone listened. The retreat wouldn’t have been the same without them.
Including Student Voice is critical to enhancing the teaching and learning process, improving school culture and making thoughtful school improvement choices. Students, not adults, are the ones that ‘live the life’ in schools, and we can’t assume to know their needs and interests just through observation – we need to invite them to the table, involve them in curricular and pedagogical decisions, hear their thoughts and feelings and seek their help in creating sustainable solutions to everyday issues.
In turn, by having a voice, students feel a sense of ownership toward their learning and their school – a key to motivation, developing leadership and reaching their potential.
Here are some resources that support the power of Student Voice:
- Check out this ASCD guest blog by Adam Fletcher, student voice expert and author of Frameworks for Meaningful Student Involvement.
- The National Urban Alliance advocates for students delivering professional development to teachers – learn about this powerful initiative here.