Young People Actively Enhancing Their Learning
Student Voice invites students to express their opinions about school in a meaningful way. This encourages valuable engagement by students in decisions that affect the school community.
Collaboration between students and teachers /school leaders at both classroom and school level ensures students are placed at the centre of their learning process.
In St. Peters student voice is encouraged by listening and learning from students in a way that is relevant for our context. Here, students have an active input in how they learn. When presented with students’ perceptions we are encouraged to reflect on our own policies and practice and enhance teaching. “Young people have unique perspectives on learning, teaching and schooling…their insights warrant not only the attention but also the responses of adults…they should be afforded opportunities to actively shape their education” (Dr Paula Flynn, 2014).
We believe young people are developmentally able and value their contribution in decision-making relating to their education. Furthermore, the Junior Cycle Framework (2015) places responsibility and emphasis on the student to take greater ownership of their own learning. Formative assessment involves teachers and students reflecting on how learning is progressing and can be improved. Self‐reflection as part of the learning process is now coupled with students having their views heard and acted upon thus increasing their autonomy and effectiveness as learners in St. Peters.
Student Voice differs from the Student Council in that it gives a definite position to the students’ voice in their learning.
In St. Peters we concur with Dr Domhnall Fleming (2013) in his interpretation that “Student Voice affords students a voice through dialogue, impacting positively on: school relationships, pedagogical change in the classroom, improved student engagement, participation and learning”.