Giving Students a Voice in the Classroom - ASCD. September 1996 | Volume 54 | Number 1 Creating a Climate for Learning Pages 22-26 The story of the dervish raises an important issue. The bystander, no doubt, expected the dervish to shout back something negative, a kind of verbal revenge. Most behavioral interventions involve some form of punishment or negative consequence, a manipulation designed to correct the offender's actions. Yet, we know that punishment does not work with many students, particularly those with low self-esteem (Jensen 1995, Glasser 1984).
For those educators tired of writing the names of misbehaving students on the board, disenchanted with group punishments and rewards, and frustrated by escalating levels of detention time, a different way is bringing some success to both elementary and secondary classrooms. Like many educators, I am suspicious of using any one approach to something as challenging and complex as classroom dynamics.
Change: The Big Picture We begin with how to set up a need-fulfilling classroom. 5 Ways to Give Your Students More Voice and Choice. The idea of co-constructing knowledge with students can be a scary thing for many of us teachers. The age-old role of teacher as orator, director, sage has been handed down for centuries and most of us grew up as students looking to teachers in this way. It's hard to shake. Co-constructing knowledge means giving up the myself and them role of teacher and students and fully embracing the wonder and journey of us.
The first step we have to take is becoming familiar and comfortable with saying "I don't know" out loud to our students. We all just sat there in the silence of those three words. Then I said, "Who knows something about this that they can share? " Two educational theorists who inform my thinking about co-constructing knowledge are Vygotsky and Freire. Yes, it is true that teachers need to be the ultimate decision-makers about a lot of things. In The Classroom #1) Stuff We Want to Know About #2) Task Force Teams of Inquiry #3) Assessing Their Needs & Wants #4) Think-Alouds.  Radically Authentic Learning: How Classrooms Change When Student Genius Drives Learning. Voice and Choice: It’s More Than Just "What" As a PBL advocate, I know how important it is to have voice and choice in the learning environment.
When I work with teachers, we always collaborate to design projects with the appropriate level of voice and choice for students, which depends on factors such as time of the year, age level, content, and many others. There is never a one-size-fits-all method to voice and choice. It's always contextualized to teacher and student lives and experiences. However, many times we oversimplify voice and choice to what students create in their project, or we simply forget that there are many possibilities. While having students express voice and choice in their products is one great option, let's consider more opportunities to create engagement and student-centered learning.
More "What" While product is the vehicle for showing content and learning, perhaps we can offer more choice in the content? "Who" Students can and should choose who they work with. Who do you need to help? "Why" and Purpose "When" Student Choice Leads to Student Voice. The way I understood school learning shifted the first time I was given an opportunity to design a project of my own. This high school senior project, an environmental audit of my school district, became my passion. I stayed awake at night researching, met with different experts, and ultimately presented a proposal for reform to our school board.
For the first time in my life, school had not been about finding ways to meet requirements established by others -- it was about work that I believed in. Why Choice? Learning that incorporates student choice provides a pathway for students to fully, genuinely invest themselves in quality work that matters. There are times when students are able to pursue their passions and independently create projects, and other times when students can be given choice in smaller, yet meaningful, ways.
Meenoo Rami teaches students English: Brad Latimer teaches students math: Matt Kay teaches students English: A final example: Choice, Voice, and Passion. Student Voice and Choice - Featuring Hudson High School ... - Vimeo. 10 Ways to Encourage Student Voice and Choice. Personalize the Learning Environment Building a personalized learning environment means putting the learner first.
Here are ten steps to encourage student voice and choice in your classroom. 1. Introduce the topic and share the standards that are normally met with typical instruction. 2. Determine prior knowledge using a poll or response system. Have small teams discuss the topic and then share one new thing they learned about the topic with the whole group. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Barbara Bray (@bbray27) has over 23 years experience "Making Learning Personal", writes the professional development column for Computer Using Educators (CUE) since 1998, is a Creative Learning Strategist where she is Rethinking Learning, and is owner of My eCoach. Popular Topics Advertisement What can your students create?