#SlowchatED: Educators Empowering Student Voice

This past week I had the lovely honour of moderating #slowchatED, and the topic was Student Voice.

There was a lot of energy especially the first few days of the chat. Participants were driven to empower each other and discuss strategies and techniques they use in their classrooms to empower student voice. Let me preface this and say that the entire chat and everyone, and I mean *everyone* literally had the best ideas and most genuine participation, they were truly there because they’re invested in their students. So my highlights will not do the chat justice.

Here are some of my favourite highlights of the chat:

My invite tweet got many people very excited and I think it’s because the image really spoke about the how we can truly empower students through our words.

First question was:

I love Jess’s response here, it’s not about where students should be, it’s about what they want to do and be:

https://twitter.com/JessLifTeach/status/562393119585759232

Dennis speaks basic truth here, but very hard for some educators to take note of and act on:

Question 2 was:

This Michael Fielding chart was useful to many teachers:

I love how Chantell summarizes many important strategies to practice in the classroom to help empower students voice:

Jordan here touches on something important and many teachers have a hard time letting go of:

Though the tweet of the day must go to Elisabeth and the key here for me is “responsible risks”:

There were so many other great ideas about what it means to empower students, but the bulk of information happened the last few days of the chat. That was probably because the questions got a bit more specific and relates to impact of student voice. Many people touched on education policy, and the role students should play in the making of these policies.

Melinda Anderson joined the conversation and shared this:

This resonated with many participants because it speaks about the marginalization of students of colour and the importance of awareness, inclusion and social justice activism in education to empower all students’ voice.

In case you’re interested, I wrote about student autonomy here and what teachers can do to empower student voice in the classroom: https://medium.com/teaching-learning/student-autonomy-e56bd45a7f51

Moderating this chat has been a great experience because it allowed me to see how educators in general were attracted to the topic of student voice and empowerment of students. This gives me hope that many teachers are doing right by students to let them be their own guide throughout their learning process. This also gives me hope that there are many kind and good-hearted teachers that are just trying to do what’s best for the students in their classrooms, and if this means to stand up against powers that divert the attention away from our students, then I think many teachers would be willing to do just that.

In the end I think it all comes down to the connections we build with our students and the feeling we create in the classroom to make it a safe, and fun environment for learning. Through these connections and relationships, we tell students that they are important. We tell students that their voice matters. We inadvertently tell students that it will be heard. And that empowers them to speak.

7 thoughts on “#SlowchatED: Educators Empowering Student Voice

  1. Gahhhhhh this is such an awesome post! I’ve been fortunate enough to have 3 over-achieving teachers in HS that I would go back to and visit once I [hopefully] get accepted to the law schools in applying to. I wouldn’t be the learner I am today w/o them. ❤
    I’m now a college student, after reading this I think it’s hard for many student to voice themselves. I know voicing yourself broadens the gateway to learning which is why I always participate and question in class. I’m at a small school in SoCal and now this summer I’ll be in a Cornell Summer Program bc I persistently try to voice myself (and yes, it’s rarely socially appreciated among my peers and I feel rejected). What would you say changes once you’re at a private/religious institution? Where the professors have a partiality to what the school requires?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comments, and appreciate it so much more because you’re a student. It’s very hard for students to speak up and speak their minds. I know when I was a student I was shy, reserved, and felt like I had nothing worthy of sharing. I do think that now with tech being an important integration in the curriculum, teachers should empower students to “voice” their perspectives on different platforms, like micro blogging, blogging, discussions, or back channels. This should be explored in the classroom!

      I also see what you mean with the changes when it comes to private/religious institutions. But teachers can “abide” by the prescribed curriculum while still empowering students. They can do this in so many ways, a few options: allow students to have a choice in topics/assignments/readings, let students determine deadlines, speak to them as equals, etc etc.

      I think institutional structures should never hinder our own (teacher’s autonomy) to empower students in our own classrooms. Because that would be doing a disservice to students.

      Liked by 1 person

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