Working with more than 500 student and adult participants in SoundOut Student Voice Workshops over the last year, I have compiled the following list of dos and don’ts for sharing student voice in education activities. The complete list includes planning activities, preparing students, actually facilitating activities, and sustaining student voice afterwards. Today’s post is the last of this series, and covers how to sustain student voice. For the complete article email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask.
To sustain student voice beyond the activity, DON’T…
£ Treat students favorably for sharing student voice in an approved way.
£ Punish students when student voice doesn’t meet adult expectations.
£ Invite students to share their knowledge, ideas, opinions, and more, and then not use what they say.
£ Neglect to recognize student learning from sharing student voice with class credit.
£ Deny the absence of student voice outlets in local schools if adults or students raise the issue.
£ Acknowledge the validity of student voices that adults disagree with.
£ Ask students to share student voice that never leaves the classroom or education-focused program they’re in. Interpret and reinterpret student voice into language, acronyms, purposes, and outcomes that adults use.
To sustain student voice beyond the activity, DO…
£ Encourage mutual accountability between students and adults.
£ Engage student voice in as many topics as possible, and don’t ignore it regarding others.
£ Create ongoing opportunities to listen to student voice and engage students as partners.
£ Encourage building-level and classroom-level student voice activities.
£ Encourage different students to participate across education activities.
£ Create “safe spaces” where students can share student voice in the long-term after the event.
£ Engage adults and students as full partners in taking action on student voice.
£ Share SoundOut.org as a resource on student voice including examples, tools, links, and more.
These Student Voice Dos and Donts were designed to help you plan, prepare, facilitate, and sustain student voice. For more information about student voice in schools, visit www.SoundOut.org