It is important to reflect. The final part of the Cycle of Engagement, reflection provides student/adult partners an opportunity to identify what they’ve learned, why they’ve learned it and what difference it can make. Students and adults should reflect on student voice together, as equitable partners. Without reflection, student voice activities can feel like a dead end.
Whether happening in classrooms, hallways, boardrooms or other places throughout education, reflection is a powerful tool in learning. Student voice requires participants learn from it too, instead of simply pretending like they’re learning anew every single time. When people do this, it forms an important continuum of action. Following are some reflection questions for student voice activities.
Student Voice Reflection Questions
- Are barriers to student voice and Meaningful Student Involvement being addressed?
- What steps are taken to ensure that student voice is meaningful?
- Do students understand the intentions of the process, decision, or outcomes?
- Do students know who made the decisions about their engagement and why they were made?
- Is the input of students recorded, reported in writing, and distributed?
- Do students receive a report (verbal or in writing) on the decisions made in the light of their input?
- Were false and negative assumptions about students’ abilities to participate deliberately addressed by students and/or adults?
- Are all adults clear about the class or school’s intent to foster Meaningful Student Involvement?
- Do adults support Meaningful Student Involvement?
- Do adults provide good examples of being personally and systemically engaged?
- How was students’ inexperience addressed?
- Did students work on issues that they clearly identify as important?
- Did students participating start with short-term goals and activities?
- Have students and adults identified and, when possible, corrected negative experiences students have had in participation?
- What steps were taken to reduce the resistance from adults?
- Has there been a written policy statement developed from the governing body?
- Has there been a memo/document from the school leader stating their support, encouragement, and commitment to aningful Student Involvement?
- Has the principal or superintendent introduced Meaningful Student Involvement at a meeting?
- Have there been social events organized to increase positive interactions between students and adults?
- Have joint workshops with students and adults been held?
- Has a plan been put in place to bring students into the mainstream, core activities of the class or school?
- Have steps been taken to help students fit into adult structures?
- Have students been placed on an adult decision-making body with support from a designated adult?
- Does someone meet with students before meetings to help them clarify their objectives for the meeting?
- Do students feel comfortable about asking for clarification?
- What steps have been taken to make the location and times of meetings convenient to students?
- Consulting with the students involved about times/dates of meetings?
- Choosing locations that are accessible to students and public transportation?
- Are there any other initiatives or changes going on in the class or school (new programs, restructuring, etc.) that will compete for attention with the goals and processes of Meaningful Student Involvement?
- How are the student members selected so that they are credible to the student body?
- How do you know that they are credible?
These are some of SoundOut’s recommended reflection questions for student voice activities. What are some of yours? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!