Discover how students' input and expertise can help shape their classroom, their school, and ultimately their own learning and growth.
Making Space for Student Voices
Insight from students is invaluable for teachers looking to deepen and refine their practice. Sometimes these insights arise from unplanned interactions or observation (also known as eavesdropping!), and other times activities can be structured so that students are able to think deeply and share insights about their own learning. It's possible to avoid gripe sessions while providing opportunities for feedback and reflection that are strategically integrated into classroom routines. The ideas below can be insightful for students andteachers.
Reflection Assignments at the End of Units
Reflection can take place in writing or be shared with a group. Students can record their learning, generate final thoughts, ask questions, or think about how they would approach work differently in the future. It's valuable to hear what parts of a unit stood out and why, and what parts were less meaningful and why.
Goal Setting and Self-Evaluations
All of us, including our students, can benefit from conscious goal setting and then evaluating our success in meeting our goals. I have students record their goals at the beginning and mid-points of the school year, and then have them revisit these goals and their progress.
Have Students Provide Feedback for Themselves
When I write narratives for my students, I also write a narrative for myself that I share with them before asking them to write versions of their own narratives. This fall, I wrote about my feeling of success with designing engaging curriculum and my desire to do a better job of giving feedback to students during the project creation phase.
Provide Students With Choice
As I wrote in an earlier post, opportunities for student voice and student choice assist learners in finding passion, voice, and revelation through their work. By giving students voice, we can learn from them and develop deeper connections with them.
Valuing Student Voices
Hearing from students in formal and informal ways is validating, challenging, and insightful. After a recent project, student reflections reminded me of the power, the challenges, and the potential of the work we do. The student comments both validated the project design and nudged me to think more deeply about how to more fully meet the expectations of different students.
Student voices matter. Hearing from and paying attention to students matters. Learning from students is a way for teachers to deepen their practice, recharge themselves, and negotiate the complexity of teaching and learning.