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 students, actually facilitating activities, and sustaining student voice afterwards. Today’s post covers how to facilitate student voice activities. For the complete article email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask.
voice in education activities, DON’T…
the impression that student voice only happens at your event.
isolate students from adults, either in small groups or overall, without
students to address topics they could know nothing about without preparation.
on one particular student to share repeatedly.
students to make generalizations about other students.
invite 10 students to join 1,000 adults at an education event; aim for equal
students to talk only about topics adults associate them with instead of broad
in traditional adult positions without the authority, ability, or knowledge adults
to tell all people present—adults and students—the purpose of student voice and
student voice by letting adults and students think that students are being
student voice as unique, infallible, or otherwise put on a pedestal by
voice in education activities, DO…
and engage students in multiple roles beyond being informants for adults.
and treat student voice as integral to school improvement.
with students and adults that students only represent themselves and their own
students the same way adults are acknowledged for attending.
listen to the words and ways students talk about issues, and ask for
clarification when needed.
to student voice in obvious ways (speaking, writing) and not other ways (art,
students the explicit right and opportunities to raise issues and to fully
participate in activities.
listening to student voice as a culture to foster, not a checkbox to complete.
students to talk on a school’s social media sites and at in-person education
and treat students as full partners in the education system.
students in issues at the local building level, not in district, state, or
For more information about student voice in schools, visit www.SoundOut.org.