On student voice and teacher practice

Student Voice can be defined as “the term [that] describes how students give their input to what happens within the school and classroom” (Palmer, 2013).   In a dream world, teachers and administrators alike would effectively apply such a definition into their every day practice; the reality of the situation is that they do not.  In some aspects, the lack of “student voice” in the education system is some what ironic given our desire for students to achieve their best.Student Voice Lines

Chatter amongst educators speaks to the desire to have students more engaged in their learning with the assumption that engagement will lead to more success.  Yet in our planning process, we often neglect to bring students into the process.  We create projects that perhaps provide choice, but choice that has been created by us, not our students. Inclusion of student voice often rests in co-creating success criteria with our students that fulfills requirements connected to a curriculum that students do not often understand.  Yet, at the heart of student voice lies the idea that “when we engage students in their own learning” they will ultimately take greater ownership of their learning (Capacity Building Series, p. 3).

What is it that is preventing us from more effectively including students in the learning process?  Is it our fear of losing control of ‘how’ they learn?  Do we fear not fulfilling the requirements of curriculum?  Is student voice something we include when it is convenient because it is something we know to be a good thing but do not fully recognize how it can be a part of every day learning?


Capacity Building Series. (2013). Student Voice.  Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat.  Retrieved from http://www.edugains.ca/resourcesLIT/ProfessionalLearning/CBS/CBS_StudentVoice.pdf

Palmer, B. (2013) Including Student Voice. Edutopia. Retrived from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/sammamish-2-including-student-voice-bill-palmer

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