Student Voice on the Perfect School
SoundOut students conceive their own ideals for schools, then compare and contrast them with others.


Introduction: Inquiry-based lesson plan for 4-40 students and/or adults

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Anticipate potential problems and develop preventative solutions
  • Examine specific barriers to partnerships

Time: 20-60 minutes, depending on the number of people and desired amount of detail.

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers.

Space: Enough for the group to work together or in teams.

Considerations: Often people are aware of he barriers that prevent students and adults from working together. They may even be able to list them out in detail. However, knowing the problematic issues is not enough, It’s important to solve them ahead of time when possible. In this activity, participants select a specific upcoming event—it’s got to be a real one! — and devise solutions for how to get around the major barriers.




  1. Instruct the group to select a specific upcoming event that they are working on. It may be a meeting, a workshop, a conference, a focus group, a banquet—whatever, as long as it involves students and adults working together. Have someone in the group give brief description of the event, its purpose and the key players.
  1. From a list of the top barriers that get in the way of students and adults working together, have the group select here to six that are major concerns for their event.NOTE: If you haven’t conducted the Lesson Plan Introducing Student-Adult Partnerships with this group, and thus developed a list of barriers, select from the following:
  • Lack of trust
  • Lack of respect
  • Lack of resources
  • Poor communication
  • Not listening
  • Unclear expectations
  • Unclear motives and agendas
  • Stereotyping
  • Fear Power issues
  • Tokenism
  • Bad attitudes/stereotype of activities
  1. In teams or as a large group, go through each of the barriers one by one (if conducting the exercise in teams, you may want to assign a different barrier to each team). For each barrier, develop two or three strategies for dealing with that barrier when it comes up, the strategies should be both concrete and realistic. That is, the group should be able to implement any one of them.To close this activity, ask participant if their thoughts have changed. Did they learn anything about planning activities for which students and adults will be working together? How might they plan another action to take to improve schools in the future?


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Published by SoundOut

SoundOut is an international technical support project focused on student voice, student engagement and Meaningful Student Involvement. We offer workshops, tools and technical assistance to K-12 schools including teachers, administrators and students themselves. For more information visit our About Us page.

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