Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Student Voice

In the early 2000s, Verizon launched its "Can You Hear Me Now?" campaign:

We all laughed as the "test man" went from location to location, sometimes bordering on the absurd, to make sure all voices could be heard clearly. Verizon had innovative coverage technology, and wanted to boast about it.

How might we use that same concept to innovate around student voice in the K-12 world? How do we make sure that not only all voices are heard, but that students achieve democratic agency to make decisions and take action around their learning?

Why is this so crucial? Check out this recent tweet:

Along with other three colleagues from the EdD program at Michigan State, we are conducting our 2016-17 capstone project around student voice. We are currently in the lit review stage, but moving toward shaping our research question. Right now, my thinking is circling around John Hattie's visible learning work --

-- coupled with the work of Roger Hart and Sherry Arnstein:

If we developed a formal system in one of our high schools through which students offered feedback to teachers to shape teaching and learning, how high up the ladder might student voice go? In other words, would it elevate students up the ladder, or would it merely reside in tokenism?

Of course, there are a lot of identity issues with this innovation. If democratic agency is the goal, there likely will be both students and teachers who are uncomfortable with such change. We have been institutionalized into, and continue to institutionalize, specific roles for each stakeholder group in education. If a student achieves equity with a teacher, what impact might that have on how each group views themselves? Is that even appealing to students? To teachers?

Join the conversation...
What do you think? Let your voice be heard.

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