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:
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.