Best Practice

Student voice: Manageable, meaningful, and motivating

How can we encourage and harness student voice effectively in our schools and our classrooms? Assistant headteacher Sanum J Khan offers some suggestions, and explains her school’s Student Congress initiative

Student voice certainly feels like a more significant part of teaching life now than it did 10 years ago. It would be naïve to deny the way that social media, social justice movements and a culture of immediacy has shaped the way that students engage with school life.

Many schools have felt the dread of students expressing their views and experiences in open forums. Not only can it feel like trust has been broken, but relationships can feel damaged and staff wellbeing can plummet.

However, this is not because students have used their voices – of course, we want to lean in to the experiences of those we teach and we want to progress our practice alongside social changes. Rather, the fallout can often be because the voice has not been captured and utilised in a way that feels manageable, meaningful and motivating.

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