I have been zealously reading about and trying to learn about the breadth of student voice work across the United Kingdom. Its lead to some really exciting finds, a new partnership, and some frustrating dead-ends. The cool stuff?
Student Project for Teaching and Learning (SPLAT) – A group of high school-age students working with adults to explore the boundaries of student voice in schools. I note them not for their size or even their power; rather, this group is actually representative of the type, depth, and purpose of much “pupil voice” action happening in schools across the UK. Check out this blog post for an interesting story of one activity they did.
Jean Rudduck & Michael Fielding – At the risk of sounding flippant, these two researchers have been examining student voice and its various roles throughout schools for a long time: I have found publications related to the field that Fielding wrote back in the 70s; Rudduck has this incredible breadth of writing where she’s examined so many aspects of student voice that it leaves my head whirling a little. For an excellent idea of Rudduck’s depth get ahold of a copy of her book, How to Improve your School: Giving Pupils a Voice” from 2004; anyone who wants an intro to Fielding should read “Beyond the Rhetoric of Student Voice: New Departures or New Constraints in the Transformation of 21st Century Schooling?” [PDF].
English Secondary Students Association – The ESSA is a national representative organization in the UK that is empowering students across the country to use their voices and actions to improve schools. Sound familiar? SoundOut is starting a powerful new partnership with ESSA in 2007 that will provide a powerful tool for their arsenal, and give schools across the UK exposure to what we’re doing over here. Check them out.
The United Kingdom has been working on fostering student voice throughout schools for sometime. In addition to being a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which asserts that all students have a voice that must be heard in schools, there is a national law in the UK that requires schools “give all pupils a say” in their education. There is more underway there that I haven’t explored fully yet; if anyone wants to teach me, please step up. I’ll share more when I discover it – I promise! Oh, and I have a collection of student voice examples from around the world.