“Student voice is the road to change.” By Russell Q

I often talk about how and why we should allow for more student voice in the classroom but lately I have been hearing so many misconceptions. I find the misconceptions mostly stem from thinking students responding in class is adding student voice. Student voice is not about students responding but about students making choices and sharing their ideas about their learning. Below are some of the misconceptions I have heard and ideas of how you can add students voice into the classroom:

  • Talking Sticks: Allowing students to answer questions by using “sticks” with their name on it does not allow for more student voice. It’s a great strategy to randomize calling on students to see how they will respond or for understanding. Instead….
    • For every ten minutes of content you deliver students need TIME to process and synthesize their learning.  Have students turn and talk about what they learned.
  • Question Stems: Having questions stems is a great tool for supporting more in-depth conversations in the classrooms but that is not adding student voice. Instead…
    • Have students write reflections.  This allows for students to work through their thoughts and emotions before sharing and allows their authentic voice.
  • Surveys: Giving students surveys is great. If you are only gathering student feedback that it is not allowing for student voice. Instead…
    • Use the survey data to take action and make changes. This will show students you are listening and value their voice and ideas.

Other ways to add student voice in the classroom is by having students:

  • goal set and reflect
  • led their conferences
  • debate on topics
  • Genius Hour
  • choice on how to show mastery

Please share ways you have allowed more student voice in the classroom.

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