As Lynton, one of our year six students is quoted as saying,
…a classroom without student voice is no classroom at all.
So this week a commited group of students set about trying to challenge staff to reflect on their understanding and use of student voice and agency.
— Abe Moore (@Arbay38) November 15, 2017
The difference between sighted hand and mirrored non-sighted hand. There is a lesson in here somewhere about the importance of feedback! pic.twitter.com/gRmPqieKYt
— Abe Moore (@Arbay38) November 15, 2017
A missing element from our Student Voice Audit was students acting as researchers. Our term three review showed that we had made good progress on reflecting on what works for learning at an individual level, but we were lacking in collecting, interpreting and presenting data that could be actioned. We spent some time discussing the difference between student voice and student agency and decided that we should create a survey to give every R-7 student at school a voice, and then share that data with staff in an attempt to build more student agency into learning across our entire school.
We used a TfEL student survey shared with us via Sarah Millar in 2016 as the basis for our investigation and with a handful of students, led by Ryan, put together a Google Form survey to fit our context. Our team sat with students from R-3 to help them understand some of the questions and fill out their forms. Once the data was collected, students created charts for every individual class teacher and a whole school overview. They looked critically at possible flaws in the data and hypothesised about what action might improve learning at school.
From here we used Google slides to collaborate on a presentation. We used tips from Dan Meyer about what makes a good presentation, and decided on 3 key elements.
- Don’t read the slides! Differentiate between what is shown and what is said.
- Make it interactive – Give staff an opportunity to share and form opinions rather than lecture.
- Make it engagaing – Use hands-on tasks, video, images, humour. Testify to why you believe!
I am more than a little biased, but from my perspective, they knocked it out of the park. Sophia, Ryan and Heath all volunteered to present because they wanted to improve their speaking skills, not because they were our most skilled presenters. They are all year six students, so they will have the opportunity to action change, and follow up with a repeat process next year. Once the nerves settled, they were able to share their understanding of the topics, not just read off notes. They went off script and answered questions well. They testified to their own experience and challenged staff to consider how much student voice and agency is evident in their classrooms. I couldn’t be prouder of their effort. Our three main players have reflected below.
I think I’ve learned quite a few things that have helped this year, like fixed-mindset and growth-mindset, PBL and co-designing our learning. I think when I put my hand up to help with the staff meeting, I didn’t know what I was in for. I learned a lot when we were making the presentation, like I can make a presentation in one day, and write about student voice and student agency. So while planning this presentation I’ve learnt lots of bits and pieces. Heath
By doing learning rounds I have learnt a lot about fixed-mindset and growth-mindset. Student learning rounds not only teaches you how to have a growth and fixed-mindset, but also teaches you how to be a better person. I’d like to do learning rounds next year so I can see what they teach us next year. I don’t know if we would do the same things, but I hope we do something different. We also did a presentation about how students should have a voice in what they learn. By doing that one presentation I’ve learnt that it’s not so hard talking to teachers. We learnt how to discuss with teachers rather than just present to them. Sophia
By doing the presentation I learned more about other classes/students because most students enjoy using tech, but they don’t get to use it as much as us. I enjoyed the presentation because some of the teachers said we did a good job and also they said they enjoyed it. Student voice survey is a another success because Mr Moore and I made a survey to help us with the presentation. Ryan
Great effort by students. Gave me lots to think about.
— Terri (@terrirod563) November 15, 2017
Fabulous job talking by sts talking about student agency. Vapor lock task was a challenge!
— Lyn (@ferely60) November 16, 2017