Student Voice and Student Leadership
I am currently attending the London West Region SIM (System Improvement and Monitoring) meeting facilitated by the LNS. Our learning today focused on two very specific areas: Mindset and Student Voice.
We were presented with a graphic “A Spectrum of Student Voice – Patterns of Partnership” by the SIM team that led to some interesting conversation throughout the day. The spectrum breaks the concept of student voice into three domains: Students as Data Sources, Students as Collaborators, Students as Initiators, and is based on Hart’s Ladder.
It led to some sharing about the many bright spots we have in our board as it pertains to student voice and led me to reflect on a project that we are currently undertaking.
Three of our schools are involved in a three-step project based on the theory that one of the strongest yet least used resources when integrating technology in the classroom is the student.
The outline of the project is:
Session 1: A lead teacher and a selected group of students (each school used very different criteria in making these selections!) work together to identify the ways that the students use technology to support their learning, both inside and outside of school. The students then select a limited number (it has tended to be 5 or 6) different tools, apps, ideas or resources that they think their teachers would benefit from knowing more about and that the student would benefit from accessing in the classroom. The student plan a 1.5 hour workshop for the teachers to help them get to know these resources a little better.
Session 2: Five technologically-reluctant teachers (self-identified!) are invited to spend a half-day with the students. The students lead the workshop they had planned previously. When this is over, the teachers select one of the things they used that they can imagine using in the classroom. The teachers and the student co-plan a lessons, project, or unit of work that uses the new technology. Between the end of this session and the third session, the teachers and students will teach implement their plan in the classroom, supporting each other throughout the process.
Session 3: The work from the lesson will be shared and the process will be debriefed with the students. All participants will be asked to consider this experience and how we can build on it.
So far we are at the end of the first session and have some very excited and empowered students. We eagerly await the next session and in the meantime the feeling of affirmation from SIM today that we are giving our students the opportunity to be leaders and are working, at least in some schools, in the “Students as Initiators” area of the spectrum is a warm one.