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You must advocate for student voice.
[one_half padding=”0 5px 0 5px”]Student voice is any expression of any student anytime related to learning, teaching, schools and education.
People who believe in student voice, who stand with students or are students should all work independently and together to promote student voice. It can be challenging to promote something that seems so different from what schools are used to, and it usually isn’t easy to help others understand why it matters so much. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try though.
Following are ways you can advocate for student voice.
10 Ways to Advocate for Student Voice
- Learn about Student Voice. Did you know that Student Voice is more than classes voting or school-wide meetings? Learn about student voice from the SoundOut website, through Wikipedia, or through a number of books.
- Brainstorm what your school can do to change. The power of your imagination is a terrible thing to waste! Brainstorm different ways your school could engage student voice more, and make a list.
- Talk to other students about Student Voice. Ask your friends if they know about Student Voice. Share your ideas about which changes your school can make, and ask if they have any ideas themselves. Challenge them to ask you hard questions, and see if you can answer them, or tell them you’ll get back to them after your learn more.
- Find an adult ally. Create a learning partnership with an adult to help your efforts. Engaging an adult ally can make planning more effective and connections with other adults easier.
- Create a Student Voice plan for your school or community organization. Maybe your school or the neighborhood nonprofit needs more Student Voice. Work with your friends to make a plan for who, what, when, where and how Student Voice can be used.
- Hold a Student Voice workshop. Invite other youth and adults in your community to learn about Student Voice by facilitating a hands-on demonstration workshop. Research Student Voice learning activities and use them to help participants learn by experiencing democracy in education.
- Present your plan to school decision-makers. Who makes decisions about how teachers should teach in your school? Teachers, principals, assistant principals, district administrators and district board of education members can all effect Student Voice. Share your plan to them one-on-one or make a presentation to the school board.
- Present your plan to community decision-makers. Who chooses which nonprofit organizations get government funding? Present your plan to them, as well as neighborhood association presidents, local businesspeople and youth organizations’ leaders.
- Organize! If your efforts to work with the education system aren’t working, organize. Find other people who care about Student Voice by sharing the idea every chance you get, and ask them to join you in promoting the concept in your school or community. Then determine a goal and take action to put Student Voice into action for everyone!
- Find allies online. Having a hard time finding other youth and adults who care? Look online through websites like http://www.soundout.org. People you can partner with are everywhere, and sometimes it’s just a matter of asking!
As you follow these suggestions, you will learn more subtle lessons about how to rally, build support, grow the movement and foster student voice. Share those below to let SoundOut know how you get students on board.
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