Accepting input from students concerning their education has become an important part of moving education forward today. Student voice isn’t necessarily spontaneous, and may need to be nurtured in students. It can be nurtured by creating positive student-teacher relationships. Student voice ‘doesn’t need adults to agree with it, incite it, define it, or appreciate it’. (Soundout.org) Student voice acknowledges and values what students are saying. It can empower students to become engaged in their learning and life.
“Student voice is empowering students to take charge of their education. It is powerful self-reflection. It motivates learning.” ~ CW Gifted Teacher
The role played by ‘respect’ when implementing student voice can’t be underestimated. When teachers listen to students, they show that what the student says is important; it shows respect. Respect is, however, a two-way street and student voice encourages all parties to listen and to value each other.
“Students need to know that what they have to say doesn’t need to be moderated or edited. Acknowledge their voice and respect by letting it go out into the wild without moderating or criticizing.” ~ Kimberley Moran, Education Writer and GT Teacher
In what way can student voice be promoted and improved in the classroom and schools? It can be promoted by taking time to welcome feedback through surveys and by allowing students a say in classroom routines which can encourage them to provide their voice in class. Schools can improve the richness of student voice by actively responding to student concerns and suggestions.
Each student is unique and their ability, once identified, can play a significant role in how they express themselves. Higher-order thinking and deeper understanding of their environment can enhance a gifted student’s voice.
Yet, the question remains; how much voice should gifted students have in their educational options? Gifted students often have more options to consider and their voice plays an implicit and necessary role. It may not be about how much, but rather enough voice that they understand their investment in the process.
Student voice is a valuable concept in education today and must be acknowledged by teachers and administrators. It can reap rewards both in the classroom and for the student’s personal development. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.
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About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: email@example.com
School Voice Report 2016 (pdf)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.