Part 1: Student Voice Dos and Don’ts

The DOs and DON’Ts of
Student Voice

Working with more than 500 student and adult participants in
SoundOut Student Voice Workshops over the last year, I have compiled the
following list of dos and don’ts for sharing student voice in education
activities. The complete list includes planning activities, preparing adults and students,
actually facilitating activities, and sustaining student voice afterwards. Today’s post covers how to plan student voice activities. For the complete article email info@soundout.org and ask.

PLANNING ACTIVITIES
To plan education
activities that engage student voice, DO…
£  Bring
groups of students together to adult events.
£  Acknowledge
students the same as you do adult participants.
£  Seek
nontraditional student leaders to share their voices.
£  Present
the context to adults and students for why students are participating.
£  Plan
on reporting the outcomes of the event to student participants as well as
adults.
£  Make
sure students are present anytime you discuss student voice.
£  Learn
to make room for students to share their wisdom, ideas, knowledge, and
experiences about school.
£  Explore
different ways to engage students as partners in school change.
£  Ensure
when young people share relevant personal information that adults share the
same amount of info.
To plan education
activities that engage student voice, DON’T…
£  Assume
students needed special motivation to share student voice—treat them like
interested parties.
£  Invite
one student speaker to talk at an adult education event; bring a group.
£  Only
invite adult-pleasing students to share student voice.
£  Seek
out one, two, or ten students as the most popular in their school to represent
student voice.
£  Fail to explain to students how they were
selected for an activity.
£  Forget
to tell adults and students the purpose of engaging student voice in public
education systems. 
£  Don’t
explain to students which students they are supposed to represent.
£  Assume
students needed special motivation to share student voice—treat them like
interested parties.
£  Invite
one student speaker to talk at an adult education event; bring a group.
£  Only
invite adult-pleasing students to share student voice.
£  Seek
out one, two, or ten students as the most popular in their school to represent
student voice.
£  Fail
to explain to students how they were selected for an activity.
£  Forget
to tell adults and students the purpose of engaging student voice in public
education systems. 
£  Don’t
explain to students which students they are supposed to represent. 

For more information about student voice in schools, visit www.SoundOut.org.

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