Using student voice to empower learning
In his latest Teacher video Greg Whitby, Executive Director of Schools in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, speaks to Greg Tyszkiewicz from St Monica’s Primary in North Parramatta about why encouraging student voice in his classroom empowers his students in their learning.
Having been a teacher for the past nine years, Tyszkiewicz says he’s learned that giving students a voice really empowers and drives them to move forward in their own learning.
‘We want them to know that what they’re trying to do and how they’re trying to do it, we need to be appreciative of what they’re doing and understand that this is how they go about it,’ Tyszkiewicz says. ‘Student voice directs the teachers in terms of how we approach the learning, how the content is taught, what content is taught, but also what real-life application we include into the teaching itself.’
Tyszkiewicz says that sharing his own experiences while travelling abroad is also a great way to demonstrate to students that he’s just as involved in lifelong learning as they are.
‘Personally I travel a lot and recently I went on a trip to Japan and Thailand and I updated my students on where I was, what I was doing, I posted pictures, short videos for them,’ he shares. ‘I made things specifically for them and what that does, it really engages them into the learning because they see I’m just as involved in my learning experience as what they are.’
Tyszkiewicz says that this approach to teaching and learning is something he believes all educators should be doing in their classrooms.
‘We give students a voice so they have full ownership of what they’re doing. And if we continue to move down the path of giving student voice, I think it would see more collaboration, it would see a larger diversity of communication in the classroom. … [Students] have so many experiences that come together in that small classroom.’
In what ways do you encourage student voice in your school setting? Are students consulted in any decision making processes at your school? How does this work in practice? How do you draw on the experiences your students bring to the classroom?
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