Activating student voice in your classroom is a powerful way to increase student engagement and boost performance. Given the impact of student voice in many educational institutions, teachers are increasingly adding this more clearly to their Professional Development Plans (PDPs).
The easy part, of course, is adding a student voice section to your development plan. The more challenging step is determining how to implement a consistent flow of student voice in your classroom. As a teacher, where do you start? What steps are key?
We have compiled a 4-step checklist for truly activating student voice in your classroom.
It can be tempting to overthink how to implement student voice in your classroom.
It is important to remove any pre-conceived notion of how you might activate student voice. The best starting point is to simply ask your students.
A few questions you might ask your students:
We recommend using a mix of techniques with your students. Face-to-face discussions will result in powerful stories, but are time consuming. Digital solutions will save you time. Using technology can also provide for anonymous responses, facilitating a more honest and authentic picture of student views.
Once you’ve collected data from your students, take some time to think about the responses.
Ask yourself a few questions:
You might even undertake this process with a colleague to check you haven’t missed anything.
As part of this reflection, you may even consider going back to your students to check your understanding. You could do this through a group discussion, or even a select number of 1-on-1 chats. Or, through a digital solution, you may ask for their views on a few ideas you already have.
Having collected and validated student responses to help support student voice in your classroom, now is the time to implement one or two changes based on that feedback.
A few things to note:
Once you have made a few changes in your classroom or school, be sure to gain feedback quickly from your students. Try to discover as quickly as possible what’s working, and what needs further refinement.
The temptation is to keep any changes in place too long before you review them. But, this doesn’t do anyone any good – and can actually undermine the overall change you’re seeking.
So, be bold, ask for feedback early and regularly from students to truly activate their voice and drive their learning. It’s far better to ask two or three questions regularly than a long list of questions at the end of term.
The best way to generate high-quality student feedback is to ask questions in the best possible way.