As I rifled through books, notes, and other resources today, I stumbled across my long lost ‘note book’ that is filled with ideas from colleagues, conferences, and students. It had been missing in action since June but I knew it would show up at some point.
The book was snug tight between my info on Students as Researchers and Speak Up in a Box information. These two amazing resources act as guides to support educators and students towards promoting student voice in one’s practice.
I dug through my book of ‘notes’ and found my running log of student voice quotes and ‘uh hunh head nod moments”. What is amazing about this ongoing list is the sheer fact that the paraphrased quotes come from students ranging from the age of 4-19. Here are a few key points that I would like to share with you based on WHY, we, as educators, need to listen to students:
- Why wouldn’t you listen to us (students), the UN says we are all born free no?
- We do not look at things as skeptics as many of you (adults) do, we are fearless optimists!
- We may make you laugh, adults do not do that enough.
- That Toy Story character said to infinite and beyond so beyond we will go; let us go!
- We know more than you think, give us the chance to shine based on our strengths, not our educator claimed weaknesses.
- We have ideas, who knows where they will go if you collaborate with us since you make more money than we do.
- I have unique things to share with people that extend beyond my cultural and background, who knows the common things I share with someone who appears so different than me if you let me talk.
- You tell us we can change the world but tell us we cannot talk, maybe that should change don’t you think?
And my all time favourite quote word for word from a 5 year old:
“If you let me talk, I may want to listen to you more ya know cause I have a lot I want to share and the world does not circle around you!”
So, as you begin to either plan your year or ease your way back into the classroom, reflect on why we need to listen to student voices, not just the how. Besides, at some point in your life, someone made the sincere choice to listen to you right?