Exclaim! Declare! Spill the beans: All words and phrases synonymous with the word â€śvoiceâ€ť according to thesaurus.com. Voice gives interest and life to a piece of literature, emphasis and impact to a speech and it is what makes standard human communication and expression unique. Student voice is a similar vehicle. Soundout.org defines student voice as, â€śâ€¦ the individual and collective perspectives and actions of young people within the context of learning and education. This can include, but isn’t limited to, active or passive participation, knowledge, voting, wisdom, activism, beliefs, service, opinions, leadership, and ideas.â€ť To me, student voice is an essential part of any school or classroom, because it is honest communication between students and teachers, students and school boards, even students and their community.
Student voice is important because it empowers students, teachers, administrators, and schools. In an environment where students can express their feelings and beliefs, and help to plan their learning experiences, they can take ownership for their education. When saddled with this impact, I begin to see student voice as a necessary component to education, because school is more meaningful when students feel a connection to it.
In a classroom student voice can take many forms, from students helping to plan lessons, to open classroom discussions. School newspapers, bulletin boards, websites, and other forums where students can express their thoughts are equally effective conveyors of student voice. At my own high school, our mandatory Senior Exhibition project (a graduation requirement), is an example of student voice through service learning. Seniors are required to research a social issue they are passionate about, and then develop a social action plan to address that issue. This project not only directly engages students in their learning, it alsoÂ asks them to make a positive impact in society, and therefore encourages civic engagement, and reaffirms their confidence in their own voice
These are just a few of my thoughts on and examples of student voice. I am interested if anyone has any stories they could share about how student voice is used in their school, or of how they seen successful student voice? I would love to hear from you!