You hear it in your PD workshops. There were probably a few articles about it in your grad school core course reader. Fostering a classroom and school culture that values student voice is a liberal education goal that we all generally accept, but that many of us find difficult to put into practice.
For some, the phrase student voice invokes images of endless student government meetings where the debate about school lunch ends up right where it started. It may also invoke thoughts of the unstructured, early 20th century experiments at Democratic schooling or even the Lord of the Flies. For others, a strong and healthy culture of student voice is the key to motivating students to work hard, be creative, and take care of each other.
Whatever your political leanings may be, there are a few things that you can do in the digital classroom, supported by Hāpara, to lift student voice without fear of revolt.
- Use Docs, Blogs, Presentations or even Google Plus to stoke discussions with brain writing. Brain writing is a version of brainstorming in which participants first write individually about a give topic of discussion or focus question before a group discussion. Brain writing is similar to think-pair-share.
- Set the expectation that students will determine some of the goals and one or two of the products in a project or unit with Hāpara Workspace. Workspace allows teachers to collaborate on assignments, projects, and even professional learning units in a way that encourages individualization.
- Keep the Internet and even social media open during any working session with the assurance you get from Hāpara Highlights. Highlights gives educators of students with Chromebooks visibility into all student online activity and structures the guidance of the teacher so that the inevitable interventions are shaped as learning conversations.
For more ideas on how to bring out student voice, check out the work of our Hāpara Certified Educators. And if you raised your hand to be the advisor to the officers of the Freshman class, try getting them to brain write before the next school lunch debate.