I wrote this post three different ways, and none of them spoke my words well. I wrote this post three different ways but none of them said what I really wanted to say. I wrote this post three different ways all leading me to the same question; where are the students’ voices in our professional development?
Where are the voices of those we say we need to reach?
Because if they are not speaking to teachers as we prepare for yet another year. If they are not on our committees. If they are not at some of staff meetings. If they are not there speaking to us throughout the year, then who are we really preparing for?
PS: In my district today at our vision conference, we had a student-led panel for an hour and half talking about the good and bad in their education. The whole afternoon was then spent reacting to what the students said. I have learned more today about being a good teacher then I have at many conferences. And that quote at the top came from one of our students today.
PPS: To see all of the surveys I use with students and parents to get to know them better, go here.
If you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. The 2nd edition and actual book-book (not just e-book!) comes out September 22nd from Routledge.
6 thoughts on “I Wrote This Post”
It would be great if more districts would give students opportunities to have a voice in their own education. The fact that your school district did this shows that they are listening. Keep being passionate about giving students a voice! It will pay off. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication. I know your students and many fellow educators appreciate it.
Completely agree! I wish all educators would prioritize student feedback. However, if the voices aren’t there in our professional development, we can seek those voices on our own. My students complete an annoymous online evaluation at the end of the school year, and it is, without question, my greatest tool for professional growth. If anyone is interested in doing the same, I wrote a post about my 5th grade evaluation form here – https://5thgradefiles.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/the-greatest-tool-for-professional-growth-is-an-end-of-year-student-feedback-form/
Thank you for sharing your form. I also teach fifth grade and I did the end of the year evaluation, but my kids were way too nice! Maybe your form will encourage better feedback.
Do you think student voice in a K-5 building is truly possible? 4th and 5th grade yes but then I question if K-3 students even know what they want out of their education. Asking is easy, listening is the hard part.
Yes, I do because it is happening in my own district. I think we have to ask very specific questions so that it becomes a learning process for the kids as well. It should start in kindergarten so we can lay a proper foundation for self-advocacy.
I concur, Pernille! I asked my Grade 1 students this question last year, and they had a lot of insight to share. I even blogged about it. 🙂 I think that we need to ask these questions more, but also be open to really hearing what students have to say, and being willing to maybe make changes based on their thoughts. I also can’t help but wonder if many students really want the type(s) of learning environment(s) that they’ve experienced. Have they all had the chance to experience a range so that they can comment even more on what they want? Does this matter? I’m curious to hear what others think.