Part 2: Student Voice Dos and Donts

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 students, actually facilitating activities, and sustaining student voice afterwards. Today’s post covers how to prepare students for student voice activities. For the complete article email and ask.


To prepare students to share student voice, DON’T…

£  Talk down to students. Teach them education jargon, theory, and strategies as needed.

£  Single out one student for their race, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, academic performance, etc.

£  Underemphasize the democratic purpose of student voice.

£  Neglect to explain to students why they’re involved in an activity.

£  Make students less than adults; students should have opportunities with adults in activities.

£  Forget to give students plenty of opportunity to formulate their own opinions before speaking.

To prepare students to share student voice, DO…

£  Teach students about the education system they participate in.

£  Help students learn about the broad issues in education affecting them.

£  Encourage and facilitate students talking with each other before they share their student voice with adults.

£  Invite students to assert themselves as they see fit, including sharing real experiences and saying what works.

£  Let students know their participation is crucial to the success of schools.

£  Encourage and facilitate active adult interaction with the students at events.

For more information about student voice in schools, visit

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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