Here is a blog from a bunch of sixth-grade students in the UK. They are at a conference, talking about what they want from schools. Keep in mind here that while they are from a school and a nation where the student involvement conversation are real: Laws, policies, structures, research, and evaluations continuously seek to develop and expand on the practice of engaging students as partners in school improvement. Fascinating.
Here are a few choice responses:
What do you think student voice means and tell me about it at your school?
We think it means pupils having a say about what goes on in school. We have class councils and a school council which can make suggestions about school. Our teachers are very good and always listen to us. No one is afraid to ask a teacher anything at our school.
Have you ever suggested things that the school has not been able to do?
We thought it might be good if people wanted to cycle to school because this was healthy. The school said there was nowhere to store the bikes so we went on the internet and did research. We found a place where you could get grants for this but the school still said it was not practicable.
What would you like to do next?
We would like to start a national student voice organisation for primary schools. We have already ‘Skype-d’ with Cooper Perry School in Stafford about this and we would like other schools to contact us through this blog and tell us if they want to get involved.
At the risk of tokenizing these responses, I have to say that I want to meet any sixth grader here, particularly in a public school, who will talk with me in an informed maner about student voice. Not to say they couldn’t – its just to say that I’ll have a hard time finding an example.
Which offers a great opportunity for me to tell you about SoundOut’s new partnership with the English Secondary Students Association (ESSA) in the UK. Be watching for more soon…