Help your students understand student voice

What does Student Voice Mean for the learner?

Why do it?
Student Voice has been around for a long time and teachers work hard to give you as much freedom to explore your personal interests but one of the greatest challenges this puts onto your teacher is that they need to spend hours and hours preparing lessons which they believe are of interest to you.  Now, that’s nice they do this, but the reality is they get grumpy and impatient because you end up ‘not being that interested’ after all.  Not great for either of you!

So, here’s the deal.  You are going to move towards taking more ownership of what you learn and your teacher is going to take a bit of a step back from having to tell you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. If this sounds good to you it doesn’t come without taking up more responsibility. And, that’s the point of student ownership.   

This means you are going to grow in some of the following areas

  • Know how to carry out your own research.
  • Measure your own progress and check how much you have learned along your learning journey and make decisions about what to do next.
  • Think about your thinking and decide if you are reaching your learning goals and make a judgement on its quality. You might even be asked to set your own criteria for success!
  • Think about the quality of your work based on your self-assessments and reflection.
  • Think about how authentic your work is; are you following someone else’s ideas or is it your own?
  • How well you work with others to improve and test your ideas.

We all know that if you are interested in something the chances are you will produce a better piece of work because your ‘heart’ is in it. That’s the basis of student ownership.

Here are the benefits

  • You will take more responsibility for your success
  • You will understand your strengths and weaknesses through trial and error rather than other people having to spell it out for you
  • You are more likely to focus on the right areas for learning
  • You will feel more empowered because you own your work
  • You will feel more in control of your life and work
  • You will be more willing to co-operate with others
  • You will have greater drive to finish your work to give you more free time
  • You will build resilience to face difficult decisions
  • You will become more adaptable and not worry so much about making changes
  • You will become a better problem solver
  • You will have the opportunity to choose topics of personal interest
  • Organise yourself and plan your own success

Here are some of the nuts and bolts of becoming a student ownership learner

  • You will have to connect with ‘self’, your mind, emotions, interests, questions or wonderings you may have to find a topic of interest.
  • Commit to deciding on the context for learning
  • Seek advice about the things you are thinking about and make changes if necessary
  • Figure out what needs to happen next
  • Create plans by using what your teacher has asked you to learn about or plan lessons based on your personal interests
  • Set your own learning goals, manage your projects and set your own standards for success
  • Find your own resources (or use what YPI Classroom or your teacher has provided)
  • Engage in collaborative teams
  • Test your ideas
  • Seek feedback and consider opinions of others
  • Take time to think and reflect
  • Communicate your understanding of your progress and be open to improvements
  • Evaluate your success
  • Return to your childhood’s creativity!

You teacher or learning coach may have other ideas but at least you get the idea.

What do you think about that?  It would be good to share your thoughts with someone because you will be experiencing some pretty real emotions along the way.

Here are some of the emotions you may encounter

  • Uncertainty
  • Optimism
  • Confusion
  • Clarity
  • Sense of direction and confidence
  • Satisfaction or disappointment
  • Fear of failure
  • Sense of achievement or not
  • Vagueness
  • Focus
  • Better self-awareness

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