When I started this blogging journey, I had a goal in mind of guiding teachers and educators alike by incorporating student voice into their every day practice. Well, after a few rants and what not, I am finally on track to answering my question as to ‘how teachers can use student voice in their every day practice?” My starting point: literacy options in the classroom. Frances Giampapa (2010) argues that in a society where we wish to see increased literacy levels in the age of technology, teachers need to look outside of traditional pedagogical practices to promote literacy. Multliteracies does just that, it promotes literacy in a way that students can ‘buy’ into due to a variety of multimedia options that are attached to the pedagogical practice. Think of the multitudes of teachers who promote independent studies in the classroom. Presumably, these teachers allow students to choose their own books and to share their understanding a few choices that has been discussed amongst the class. Options often include a book cover, a new ending, a CD song list, or perhaps even a small review. What do these options have in common? They are traditional in the sense that they limiting the choices of students. Instead, why not bring in multiliteracies practice even in the simplest level to one’s classroom practice to promote student voice? How you say?
- Start with allowing students to read something that speaks to them no matter the format. Not always easy to let go of a novel study by any means but in a world where endless pieces of writing are available online, why not allow that to be an option?
- Give students the chance to share their learning based on their selected reading in a medium that speaks to them. The list is endless.
- Ensure that the output of their learning reflects numerous learning skills that are essential to today’s society such as communication and creativity.
A quick example of such a project is the one a former student created based on a book she chose to read entitled “Mes Parents sont des monstres”. She requested to do explore iMovie and create a trailer that explained the key points should it be turned into a movie. The engagement levels on this project by all students were phenomenal and each of their voices were clearly heard through the project output that they chose. Go ahead, take a chance on students by allowing them to use their voice in showing their learning.