(BLOG 19) Voice Matters,…How Can Teachers Let Students Use Their Voice?

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As we continue thinking about student engagement, we want to give time to pause on places where the likelihood of engagement INCREASES rather than decreases. One place to look is your classroom processes. Being mindful, proactive, and deliberate will only bring your closer to student engagement. Being “unconscious” with your processes can unfortunately leave your room open to disengagement.

It is clear that when a student’s name is used, when a student feels that they belong, and when a student’s voice is heard/used, the chances of that student engaging is far higher than if none of the three mentioned were to occur. This week we invite you to think about the ways you can allow a student to Use Their Voice. When a student feels comfort in their voice and has the opportunity to showcase their voice, watch them engage like no other.

In my English class it was natural for me to plan ways for students to use their voice through the written and spoken word. It was of course an appropriate subject matter for those two uses; however, they’re not the only way students can use their voice in English! On the days when the school schedule was packed, when I was coaching a soccer game right after school, and when I had a handful of other professional obligations to get to,…those were the days when I made “unconscious” choices rather than “conscious” choices. Those were the days where the lessons went well and I made it through my curricular goals,…but those were definitely not the days that I would list as incredibly engaging. And they were definitely not days where students voices were heard more than mine. That’s the point of being mindful and deliberate. That’s the goal of making “conscious” choices.

Part One of Your Homework: Call to mind your natural, normal, most-likely-used processes in your classroom. Assess whether they encourage the use of student voice. Are they processes that are more likely to engage? Disengage? Are they more likely to engage just a small percentage of your students?

Part Two of Your Homework: Make a list of as many ways students can use their voice in your classroom. Keep in mind the goal is to engage so they can absorb your material in a meaningful, relevant way.

Here are some examples of different uses of voice:

  • Written word
  • Spoken word
  • Musical instrument
  • Sketching/drawing
  • Physical movement
  • Mathematical grappling
  • Nonverbal
  • Creation through building
  • Games
  • Clothing

Contact us to hear how we can open up this topic further with your faculty/staff, students, coaches, or business:



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