10 Ways Adults Can Show They Care About Student Voice

Just telling students you care about student voice isn’t the way to engage students in schools. As a teacher, principal, counselor, or other adult in schools, you set the tone and create the climate for student voice to be an effective tool in the school improvement arsenal. Check out the following 10 Ways Adults Can Show They Care About Student Voice.

  1. Commit and follow through with the idea that student voice should be as student-driven as possible.
  2. Fun and laughter are requirements for successfully engaging student voice.
  3. Create awareness around different problems throughout the education system and seek to engage your students as active partners who can help solve these problems.
  4. Provide examples of ways that students have made a difference. See www.soundout.org, www.youthnoise.com, www.freechild.org, and www.takingitglobal.org for examples.
  5. Connect individually with your students about their thoughts about your class, school, or program as frequently as possible and demonstrate that you actually care about their specific thoughts and feelings about school. 
  6. Encourage students and help them to find opportunities to engage in school that use their strengths, talents, interests or skills. Create those opportunities as often as you can.
  7. Make sure your students are using their friendship networks to find out what their friends think about schools.
  8. Promote student voice in happy, friendly and accessible ways when appropriate. When necessary, confront adults who are resistant, and challenge apathy or disregard for student voice.
  9. Promote the benefits of student voice to students – both personal benefits and the potential final results.
  10. Provide opportunities for students to socialize and just talk about student voice.
This isn’t a deep prescription, but it does provide a place to start. Check out www.soundout.org for more useful info about student voice in schools!

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