Part 1: Student Voice Dos and Don’ts

The DOs and DON’Ts of Student Voice

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 adults and students, actually facilitating activities, and sustaining student voice afterwards. Today’s post covers how to plan student voice activities. For the complete article email info@soundout.org and ask.

PLANNING ACTIVITIES

To plan education activities that engage student voice, DO…

£  Bring groups of students together to adult events.

£  Acknowledge students the same as you do adult participants.

£  Seek nontraditional student leaders to share their voices.

£  Present the context to adults and students for why students are participating.

£  Plan on reporting the outcomes of the event to student participants as well as adults.

£  Make sure students are present anytime you discuss student voice.

£  Learn to make room for students to share their wisdom, ideas, knowledge, and experiences about school.

£  Explore different ways to engage students as partners in school change.

£  Ensure when young people share relevant personal information that adults share the same amount of info.

To plan education activities that engage student voice, DON’T…

£  Assume students needed special motivation to share student voice—treat them like interested parties.

£  Invite one student speaker to talk at an adult education event; bring a group.

£  Only invite adult-pleasing students to share student voice.

£  Seek out one, two, or ten students as the most popular in their school to represent student voice.

£  Fail to explain to students how they were selected for an activity.

£  Forget to tell adults and students the purpose of engaging student voice in public education systems. 

£  Don’t explain to students which students they are supposed to represent.

£  Assume students needed special motivation to share student voice—treat them like interested parties.

£  Invite one student speaker to talk at an adult education event; bring a group.

£  Only invite adult-pleasing students to share student voice.

£  Seek out one, two, or ten students as the most popular in their school to represent student voice.

£  Fail to explain to students how they were selected for an activity.

£  Forget to tell adults and students the purpose of engaging student voice in public education systems. 

£  Don’t explain to students which students they are supposed to represent. 

For more information about student voice in schools, visit www.SoundOut.org.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

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