Teacher Mindsets About Meaningful Student Involvement

Over the last decade, there has been a lot written about growth mindsets. There has been a lot said for adults learning about the concept, and teaching students about the idea. Here I want to elaborate on the role of growth mindsets for meaningful student involvement.

This graphic shows the differences between the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.
This graphic shows the differences between the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.

In the 1990s, Carol Dweck started writing about growth mindsets. Centered on students’ perceptions of failure, Dweck found that some students came back quickly from failure and some students were devastated by failure. By studying their perceptions of failure, Dweck identified that the difference was that some students had a growth mindset and believed they could get smarter, while others had a fixed mindset and thought they would never succeed.

Testing whether those mindsets could be changed for the positive, Dweck and other researchers discovered that fixed mindsets could be changed with specific interventions.

I began learning about mindsets a decade ago. Applying what I found to the K-12 schools I worked in, I found that educators’ mindsets often determined which student voice they would listen to, which students would be meaningfully involved in schools, and which students would be focused on to engage. These seemingly innate perceptions about students were routinely informed by student identities and performance in schools, and were far from the equity that many educators say they aspire to.

Fixed Mindsets about Students

I quickly found that student involvement in traditional school activities, such as extracurricular clubs and athletics, was predicated on whether teachers thought the students who were involved deserved to be involved. If they deserved it, they let the students know. I call this gatekeeping. Gatekeeping allows certain students to be involved and keeps roles for teachers as gatekeepers. Gatekeepers decide which students can be involved according to various spoken and unspoken factors, including:

  • Academic achievement
  • Likeability
  • Compliance
  • Race
  • Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
  • Socio-economic background

These “gates” are predicated on bias, allowing and disallowing some student voice to be valued while other student voice is silenced. It is the educators’ mindset or the join mindsets of several educators or school administration that permits, accepts and sustains this bias. This fixed mindset about students believes:

  • Students have to deserve or earn the right to have student voice heard
  • Only certain students selected by adults should be heard and other students should not be heard
  • There is a “perfect” or “right” type of student voice, and every other student voice is imperfect or isn’t right
  • Student voice should reproduce teacher voice
  • Only certain students have innate abilities to share student voice, and other students do not have this ability

Growth Mindsets about Students

A growth mindset about student involvement, student voice and student engagement allows and encourages all students to experience Meaningful Student Involvement whether adults accept them or not. Educators see that all learners have student voice, and all students understand they deserve to be involved — not because they’re particularly special, but because they are learners, and all learners should be heard, seen, acknowledge, and empowered.

When educators have growth mindsets about students, they…

  • Believe every student voice deserves to be heard
  • Make space for students to share what they want to, rather than just what adults want them to share
  • Work to deliberately engage every single student every single day in every single way possible
  • Teach students to focus on improving how they share student voice, not which students share or what they share
  • Focus on why student voice matters and why students share how they do
  • Believe in increasing others teachers’ capacities to meaningfully involve students

Decades ago, Dweck and her colleagues showed that teacher mindsets directly and deeply impact student mindsets. One of the informal findings from my work has been that when teachers think students are capable of positively transforming schools, students think they are positively capable of transforming schools. While their actions are (luckily) not contingent on adults believing in them, more students are going to become more active in education transformation when we check ourselves.

How do adult mindsets affect student voice, student engagement, and Meaningful Student Involvement in your school? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!

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SoundOut Student Voice Series

The SoundOut Student Voice Series introduces the theory of Meaningful Student Involvement by expert practitioner Adam Fletcher, founder of SoundOut. The books in this series define terms and share mental models; detail benefits; share how to plan action; detail what action looks like; identify learning opportunities; explore how to teach students about school; examine potential barriers and how to overcome them; address assessment; and detail the ultimate outcomes of Meaningful Student Involvement. Each of these books is derived from the SoundOut Student Voice Handbook.

 

Books in this Series


Book 1. Making Meaning With Students

Making Meaning With Students - SoundOut Student Voice Series #1 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

The first book is called “Making Meaning With Students” and introduces the theory of Meaningful Student Involvement. This book proposes that all students of all ages are full humans and introduces them as active partners in learning, teaching and leadership throughout education, instead of passive recipients. It then highlights a short history of educational circumstances that have treated students as partners, and proposes there is a crisis of purpose in schools today that is solvable through shared responsibility. The book closes by summarizing how schools can change. (74 pages, 2017)

 


Book 2. Student Voice and Student Engagement

Student Voice and Student Engagement - SoundOut Student Voice Series #2 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

Book two focuses on the related notions of student voice and student empowerment. Reviewing two distinct literature fields, it summarizes a wide swath of student voice literature related to curriculum, teaching, classroom management and school reform. It then introduces student engagement as a psychological, emotional and social factor in schools that intersects with student voice. Juxtaposing Meaningful Student Involvement against both of these, this book positions the theory as a distinct, yet related, phenomenon with implications throughout the entirety of the education system. (42 pages, 2017)

 


Book 3. Frameworks for Meaningful Student Involvement

Frameworks for Meaningful Student Involvement - SoundOut Student Voice Series #3 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

The third book examines Fletcher’s distinct “frameworks of Meaningful Student Involvement,” which are formed by a series of mental models. Forming the practical basis of Meaningful Student Involvement, these models can guide practitioners and researchers alike. There are seven featured here, including student/adult partnerships; the cycle of engagement; key characteristics; the ladder of student involvement; adult perspectives of students; spheres of meaning; and a learning process. Based in the author’s experience and studies, these models can be vital tools for planning, implementation and assessment of different practices. (92 pages, 2017)

 


Book 4. Benefits of Meaningful Student Involvement

Benefits of Meaningful Student Involvement - SoundOut Student Voice Series #4 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

 

In the next book, Fletcher examines the benefits of this theory. Beginning by explicitly delineating the aims of Meaningful Student Involvement, the book then summarizes the research-based outcomes, in addition to identifying a wide variety of research that supports the theory. The impacts on learning and child and youth development are expanded on, and the book closes by exploring how this research impacts practice and is incorporated into practice. (62 pages, 2017)

 


Book 5. Planning for Meaningful Student Involvement

Planning for Meaningful Student Involvement - SoundOut Student Voice Series #5 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

 

The fifth book explores planning for Meaningful Student Involvement. The book elaborates on different roles throughout the education system to consider, as well as different kinds of students that can become meaningfully involved. Fletcher then identifies the different people and locations throughout education that can engage students as partners, including individual schools, local districts, state and provincial agencies, and federal agencies. There is a long list of issues that can be addressed through Meaningful Student Involvement, and strategies that can be considered to transform the theory into action. The book then expands on different ways to prepare individuals to become meaningfully involved, including students and adults. Places are considered to, with sections on preparing schools and the education system at large. The final section in this book encourages the reader to consider the ethical implications of Meaningful Student Involvement. (74 pages, 2017)

 


Book 6. Meaningful Student Involvement in Action

Meaningful Student Involvement in Action - SoundOut Student Voice Series Book #6 by Adam Fletcher Sasse

 

Envisioning Meaningful Student Involvement in Action can be challenging for adults who are used to today’s education system. In book six, Fletcher expands on the idea, exploring different types of action in-depth. A comprehensive picture is painted as readers look at examples of students as school researchers, educational planners, classroom teachers, learning evaluators, systemic decision-makers and education advocates. This book also addresses engaging disengaged students and gives examples of schoolwide and large scale programs. He also shares the need for healthy, safe and supportive learning environments that engender Meaningful Student Involvement for all learners. (114 pages, 2017)

 


Book 7. Learning through Student Voice

Learning through Student Voice - SoundOut Student Voice Series #7 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

Book seven explores what is learned through Meaningful Student Involvement. It discusses grade-specific approaches to learning, sharing what happens in elementary, middle and high schools, as well as what adults can learn. This book identifies different roles for teachers specifically, and summarizes a number of learning strategies and classroom structures that can be used to catalyze learning with students as partners. Fletcher then examines how to acknowledge Meaningful Student Involvement, and shows how educators can build ownership in action. (62 pages, 2017)

 


Book 8. Teaching Students about School

Teaching Students About School - SoundOut Student Voice Series #8 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

 

Teaching students about school is a key to Meaningful Student Involvement. In book eight, Fletcher shares a variety of ideas about this activity, from identifying the purpose of learning to understanding our own understanding of education. The constructivist nature of the theory is made plain as the educators are shown how to validate students’ existing knowledge about schools and how they might expand their own and their students’ understanding about the education system. Fletcher then identifies how Meaningful Student Involvement can be taught through curriculum and instruction, school leadership, building design, student assessment, building climate and culture, student support services, education governance, school/community partnerships, and parent involvement. Stories of action highlight each item. (52 pages, 2017)

 


Book 9. Barriers to Student Voice

Barriers to Student Voice - SoundOut Student Voice Series #9 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

 

The ninth book of the book proposes barriers and practical considerations affecting Meaningful Student Involvement. Fletcher details how the structure of education can be both a barrier and a solution to action. Other barriers examined in-depth include school culture, students themselves, and adults throughout the education system. The book shares a case examination for overcoming obstacles, and then details ways discrimination against students affects the meaningfulness of learning, teaching and leadership. It proposes a “student involvement gap” in addition to exploring convenient and inconvenient student voice. (76 pages, 2017)

 


Book 10. Measuring Student Voice

SoundOut Student Voice Series #10 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

 

Book ten addresses assessing meaningful student involvement. It thoughtfully examines different issues to be measured throughout activities, as well as ways to measure the effect of action on people, activities, and outcomes. This book also discusses how to sustain Meaningful Student Involvement. (56 pages, 2017)

 


Book 11. The Public Student

The Public Student - SoundOut Student Voice Series #11 by Adam F.C. Fletcher

Proposing there is an essential role for learners in democratic society, the last book, book eleven, details what Fletcher calls, “The Public Student.” This student is “any learner whose position is explicitly vital to the future of education, community and democracy.” This book shows what their jobs are, why they are important and what they look like in practice.

 


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Silencing Student Voice

Barriers to Students
Barriers to Students

To assist you in identifying and challenging adultism in schools, I’m adapting this list of common phrases educators have been conditioned to use throughout schools. They try to silence students with these phrases, especially when students challenge them, pushback or otherwise disagree.

The phrases below are often used by educators against students. Students of color, working class and poor students, queer and LGBTQI students, obese students, disabled students, and other marginalized students frequently hear these things more than other students. Silencing student voice happens a lot of different ways.

Strategies to Silence Student Voice

These silencing strategies, and others that may have been missed, can be found in any order. Students’ experiences of adults trying to silence them often go like this:

  • Adults in schools assert authority over students
  • Adults in schools question student knowledge/judgment
  • Adults in schools delegitimize student responses
  • Adults in schools delegitimize students
  • Adults in schools enforce dominant point of view
  • Adults in schools shut down debate or conversation

Following are details of what each strategy to silence students sounds like.

How Adults Assert Their Authority Over Students

  • No, but…
  • You’re wrong.
  • You’ve been wrong before.
  • That’s not true.
  • Are you sure? I’m going to Google it.
  • Really? I don’t believe it.
  • That’s never happened to me / anyone I know.
  • I’ve never seen / heard of that.

How Educators Question Student Voice

  • You don’t know that for sure.
  • You don’t know what you’re talking about.
  • That doesn’t count.
  • This is a completely different situation.
  • You’re making it about students when it’s not.

How Educators Dismiss Student Voice

  • You’re overreacting.
  • You’re blowing it out of proportion.
  • Why are you making such a big deal out of it?
  • Stop getting so emotional.
  • Don’t tell me you’re upset about this.
  • You’re getting angry /raising your voice / shouting again.
  • Not everything is about…(structural oppression goes here).
  • Stop trying to make it about…(structural oppression goes here).
  • You always say that.
  • I knew you’d do this.
  • Can’t we talk about something else?

How Educators Delegitimize Students

  • (Rude laughter)
  • (to someone else) She’s crazy. Don’t listen to her.
  • Why can’t you just relax?
  • Can’t you take a joke?
  • I’m just joking.
  • You’re so serious all the time.
  • You’re so angry all the time.
  • You have no sense of humor.

How Educators Enforce Dominance

  • You have to accept that…
  • You must agree that…
  • It’s obvious that…
  • You must be stupid to think that…
  • Everybody knows…
  • When I was your age…

How Educators Shut Down Conversations

  • This is a stupid / irrelevant / useless conversation.
  • Why are we still having this conversation?
  • It’s not important.
  • Not everything is about you.
  • You’re making it worse by talking about it.
  • Why don’t you just give it up already?
  • I’m done.
  • Are we done?
  • Are you happy now?
  • I’m gonna hang up.
  • I don’t debate on this topic.
  • I’m not having this conversation.
  • I said I was sorry! Isn’t that enough?

This post was adapted from here with permission of the original authors.

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Student Courts and Meaningful Student Involvement

Students deliberate on important issues in a Seattle high school.
Student and adults deliberate together on important issues in a Seattle high school.

Student courts are one approach to engaging students as partners in school discipline. Student courts can happen in elementary, middle, and high school, and when they operate outside schools, they are youth courts. Most often, they provide conflict resolution and interpretation of student bylaws and constitutions. When infused with classroom learning goals and provided equitable opportunities for decision-making as adults, student courts can reflect Meaningful Student Involvement at the highest levels.

What They Do

Elementary, middle and high schools are using student courts as a way to engage students as partners in safe and supportive learning environments. They are also using student courts to teach students about justice and court issues, and to provide an alternative to other forms of punishment for students who disobey rules in order to defeat the school-to-prison pipeline and engage disengaged students.

How They Happen

The first step to creating a student court is to understand that these bodies are basically juries that are made of students alone. Whether happening on the classroom, building, district or state level, student courts should consider these five issues:

  1. Composition – Who will be on the court? How many students will be allowed? How will they be selected? How will they be trained? How long can they be members of the court?
  2. Jurisdiction – What types of offenses will the court rule on? How do student confidentiality laws and overall student safety affect the court?
  3. Preparation – How will students on the court will be trained to be effective and impartial jurors? How will adults learn about student courts?
  4. Operation – When, where and how will student court hearings be conducted? Who will evaluate student success? How will students be acknowledged for participating?
  5. Partnerships – How will student/adult partnerships be evident throughout the proceedings? Who will decide which cases the court hears? Who holds ultimate veto power over the court?

 

As more schools and districts realize the educational potential of student courts for both the students serving on them and those that go before them, they are becoming a popular way to engage students in school decision-making. Like other forms of student government, student court promotes student voice by engaging students as responsible, equitable partners in affecting and shaping schools.

What It Looks Like

Students in Marin County, California, have been partners in youth courts for more than a decade. Committed to eliminating the school-to-prison pipeline, these students learn to use restorative justice practices that keep students in schools and out of the juvenile justice system. With a non-adversarial, student-to-student philosophy at its core, Marin County youth courts have diverted more than 900 students from the juvenile justice system. Their completion rate is 95%, with only 8% recidivism, startling naysayers who insist youth courts are “soft on crime”.

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Understanding School Districts

If schools use Meaningful Student Involvement as an organizing construct, they have to teach students about the structure of education, including school districts. In the United States and Canada, a school district is the governing administration unit serving a particular geographic area. Public school district boundaries are determined by state education agencies, and include between one and 100 schools, including elementary, middle or junior, and high schools.

Purpose

The purpose of public school districts in North America is to implement a democratic system of public education. Every state in the U.S. and province in Canada has districts of some form, with some following county governments and boundaries while others carve up cities in several ways. Generally, their purpose remains the same.

Organization

School districts are organized in several ways. They include:

  • District School Board: Local residents are voted into office on a public board of education serving the school district. They meet weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to control the finances of schools, curriculum in schools, facilities for schools and personnel serving schools. The board is responsible for hiring and supervising the district superintendent. The district school board is ultimately accountable to the voters who elect them.
  • District Superintendent: The school district superintendent is the leader of all public schools, and is ultimately accountable to the elected school board that hired them. In turn, they hire people to manage schools under them that form the school district office staff. They also hire the leaders of individual schools – principals.
  • District Staff: In most school districts with enough students, the superintedent needs to hire people to help them get work done. These people can include assistant superintendents, financial officials, legal counsel, technology specialists, curriculum and assessment and student support services staff, and others. They support principals and teachers in administering specific government grants focused on serving low-income students, students of different abilities, homeless students and others. They often act
  • Principals: Districts only exist to administer individual schools. The leaders of these buildings are principals, at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Principals are responsible for ensuring students are effectively educated, and ultimately responsible for ensuring district voters’ wishes for schools are enacted. Hiring teachers, school support staff and others, principals also make sure teachers receive the ongoing educations they need to serve students.

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Whole School Meaningful Student Involvement

2013LearningthruMSIWhat would whole school Meaningful Student Involvement look like? There are a lot of ways to picture that vision. Following is one way to picture all of it.

What It May Look Like

Imagine a school where democracy is more than a buzzword, and involvement is more than attendance. It is a place where all adults and students interact as co-learners and leaders, and where students are encouraged to speak out about their schools. Picture all adults actively valuing student engagement and empowerment, and all students actively striving to become more engaged and empowered. Envision school classrooms where teachers place the experiences of students at the center of learning, and education boardrooms where everyone can learn from students as partners in school change. (Fletcher, 2005a)


Components of Whole School Meaningful Student Involvement

Whole school Meaningful Student Involvement happens when every student in every classroom experiences Student/Adult Partnerships throughout their educational experience. Following are some components that may be included:

  • Classrooms: Classrooms that embody Meaningful Student Involvement can look many different ways. However, certain attitudes and characteristics soak through these places. The main thing that is evident are Student/Adult Partnerships, which every student and every adult involved in a learning environment can experience.
  • Teaching: Teaching is more than methods or attendance. Instead, its a combination of intention, ability and outcomes, and everything in between. Meaningful Student Involvement happens when all of these reflect the Principles of Student/Adult Partnerships and the Elements of Meaningful Student Involvement.
  • Assessment: Rather than simply looking at the outcomes of teaching, learning and leadership, assessment should reflective a formative approach. Students should be at the center of their own assessment, too, with explicit instruction and direct opportunities to evaluate themselves, their peers, their classes, their schools and the entirety of the education system.
  • School Culture: The shared behaviors, actions and outcomes of students, teachers, support staff, leadership, parents and others form a school’s culture. Committing to engaging students as partners requires a high level of whole school commitment. Every partner in schools should be aware of these commitments and should demonstrate a high level of their own commitment, too.
  • School Climate: While some people have innate amounts of social and emotional intelligence, what they often sense in education is the school climate. ALL people are affected by school climate, which is made of the common feelings, attitudes, opinions, thoughts and beliefs of everyone within the school. If students are visibly disengaged, that is because educators, parents or others are too; vice versa is true as well.
  • School Committees: Comprised of various people from throughout the learning environment for a variety of purposes, school committees can address dozens of longterm topics, or many immediate issues facing a school. These bodies should make student involvement a high priority, deliberately nurturing opportunities, education and other avenues for Meaningful Student Involvement. With adjustments, they can be among the most direct ways every student can be involved.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Athletics, clubs and other activities that happen outside structured classroom time provide a lot of opportunities for Meaningful Student Involvement. None of them is the exclusive domain for Student/Adult Partnerships though, including student government, honors clubs and ethnic clubs. All of those are opportunities, but so is being a library aide, peer mediator and even JROTC drill team member.
  • School Leadership: Principals, headmasters, assistance managers and other adult figures can foster Meaningful Student Involvement in many ways, including all the ones shared above and others. In context, Principals’ Advisory Teams, professional development, student body wide surveys, student training and other tools can foster Student/Adult Partnerships.
  • School Rules: All schools are governed by laws, policies and regulations from beyond them. However, they also develop their own rules. Meaningful Student Involvement can be infused throughout these rules, reflected in their structure and purpose as well as their creation and implementation. Since everyone in a school follows the rules, this is a great way to impact all students in every school.

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The Basics of Schools

SoundOut Tools for Students https://soundout.org/students/

SoundOut’s basics of schools cover school systems, learning, teaching, leadership, curriculum, testing, extra-curricular activities and school climate. The following sections share details and more info on each.

Basics of School Systems

  1. Schools are places where learning can happen.
  2. Public schools are funded by taxpayers and operated by the government in order to ensure an educated population.

Basics of Learning

  1. Learning is an act of acquiring knowledge and skills, either on purpose or by accident.
  2. Everyone can constantly learn all of the time, no matter what their age, race, gender or amount of intelligence.

Basics of Teaching

  1. Teaching is the act of actively fostering learning. It can be done as a teacher, through facilitating, as a coach, parent or friend.
  2. Anyone can teach things to other people, no matter what their age is. A teacher is hired to teach things for a job; students can be teachers too.

Basics of School Leadership

  1. Leadership is the act of using control to achieve goals.
  2. Every single person is a leader, whether or not another person calls them that or not. You lead your own life, and you influence others to do what you want them to.

Basics of Curriculum 

  1. The curriculum is made of books, websites, teaching styles and activities, as well as the unseen curriculum, including attitudes, discrimination, and the culture of schools.
  2. Curriculum is sometimes mandated by school boards and state education agencies, and sometimes chosen directly by individual teachers.

Basics of Testing

  1. Testing, including assessments, is supposed to be used to determine how well students remember and understand specific subjects. Some testing is required, some is not.
  2. There are many other ways to determine how well a student is learning a subject, including portfolios, self-evaluations and other tools.

Basics of Extra-Curricular Activities

  1. Any activity happening outside the regular classroom still in school is an extracurricular activity, including sports, clubs, honor society and more.
  2. Extracurriculars were originally intended for every student to find something to attach to throughout the school day; not specific students to excel further throughout the day.

Basics of School Climate

  1. School climate, including introduction, negotiation, conflict, resolution and performance, was an original purpose for schools and is often cited as a need for their continued existence.
  2. Every single person in a school is part of that school community, and because of that student voice is only as strong as the quietest voice in schools.

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BONUS!

The U.S. education system, illustrated as a bus by SoundOut.org
This graphic illustrates the U.S. education system as a school bus.
Canada Education System
This graphic illustrates the Canadian education system as a school bus.

Tools for Communities

SoundOut staff facilitating a student learning session at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Olympia, Washington
Adam Fletcher of SoundOut facilitating a learning session in Olympia, Washington.

Before anyone tries to improve schools, transform education or just make their school better through Meaningful Student Involvement, they should look over the tools for communities. This includes nonprofits, parents, student-led education organizing groups, and others.

SoundOut supports Meaningful Student Involvement in communities »

Tools for Communities

Examples

Challenges


Check out SoundOut tools for…

Students | Teachers | Administrators | School Boards | Communities


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Student Voice Revolution: The Meaningful Student Involvement Handbook written by Adam Fletcher published by CommonAction Publishing in 2017.

Cultural Competency and Meaningful Student Involvement

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Cultural competency is the root within schools that allows them to embrace, enrich and promote students’ senses of ownership, agency and belonging through Meaningful Student Involvement.

What It Is

More than just acknowledging diversity, cultural competence can include acknowledging, accepting, embracing and empowering differences between and among students, students and educators, and the school and the larger community. Meaningful Student Involvement can put those steps into action as students learn the enthusiasm and energy education can possess.

Culture is anything and everything that makes up the parts of a person’s entire way of living. Culture is organized into groups, including a person’s geographic location, political identification, sexual orientation, familial makeup, friends, religion, jobs, and AGE. Age is a cultural group because of the traits shared among different age groups throughout society.

Ethnocentrism, racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are all rooted in these cultural realities. Adultism, which is bias towards adults, is rooted in our cultural realities, too.

In order to successfully, meaningfully and wholly engage children and youth anywhere, anytime for any reason, adults have to confront our bias towards adults, and the consequence of that: discrimination against young people. The question of becoming aware of the culture of young people is at the very core of Meaningful Student Involvement for a lot of reasons.

For all that schools continue expanding Euro-awareness of the value of indigenous culture and the culture of people of color; for the cultural expansion towards equitable roles between women and men; for the upsurging awareness of the equal rights of GBLTQQ folks; we’re missing a key element in these conversations, and that’s the cultural shoehorn known as children and youth.

Students in schools have a distinct and unique culture among themselves for many reasons, not the least of which being the routine and systematic segregation of them from society by adults. The culture of students is almost wholly and constantly neglected, denied and dismissed by adults. They are actually and actively repressed, consequently fostering adultism and the adultcentric nature of schools and homes and businesses and government and much more.

That’s why cultural awareness is at the middle of what SoundOut does. From our perceptions, we’re talking about human rights, and the distinct right students should have to be themselves. Schools can and must embrace this in order to see the future for all it can hold…

What It Does

Successful schools that combine these approaches might have:

  • Elective courses designed by students from diverse backgrounds, such as Combating Intolerance
  • Peer mediation that allows students from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to guide other students as they talk about potentially divisive issues
  • Student-driven clubs that help students retain cultural identity (e.g., Muslim Student Society)
  • A committee for the families of students of color that organizes evenings for their parents to come to school in smaller groups and learn about the college admissions process, SAT prep classes, scholarship and grant opportunities, etc.
  • Open communication with students, led by students
  • Establishment of programs in the first languages of students

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Meaningful Student Involvement in Classrooms by SoundOut.org.

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Mindsets and Meaningful Student Involvement

mindset is the way someone thinks about something. A growing body of research and literature has shown that students’ mindsets determine educational effectiveness, school culture and much more. Mindsets affect student voice and Meaningful Student Involvement as well.

A Meaningful Mindset

By focusing on the intersection between mindset and strategy, educators can help students learn a practical framework for identifying opportunities so they can proceed from promising ideas to practical actions in schools.

Whether seeking to start a school improvement campaign or infuse a meaningful mindset into their current classrooms, SoundOut offers products and services that allow students to learn directly from the firsthand experience of students who’ve experienced meaningful involvement throughout education while immersing them in school improvement activities that share knowledge, build skills, and launch students into student/adult partnerships that transform learning, teaching and leadership and own their own education.

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