Learning is a two way street. A student should feel empowered to voice their opinions, and use the classroom as not just a learning environment, but a teaching one too. Giving students the opportunity to express themselves in the classroom can be one of the most powerful tools a teacher can use when educating their students.

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We KNOW students love talking. So, below are three ways to structure their conversations in your classrooms to help ensure that the louder their voice, the greater their choice.

Student Voice Strategy #1: Provide students with the platform for communication

First, teachers must set the stage, and provide the platform for communication. As teachers, we must be fearless and unafraid of topics that seem “too mature” or “too controversial” to talk about. Through Socratic Seminars, Think-Write-Pair-Share, and Six Word Stories, students are given the opportunity to talk about something that they are interested in, and care about. By opening the door to communication within the class, students are able to evoke their voices.

Student Voice Strategy #2: Validate the experience of those in the classroom






The second key is to validate the experience of those in the classroom. Teachers, that includes your experience too. It is important to be aware of the personal truths that are present within the class. Students have their own story to tell, and deserve recognition when they’re brave enough to speak up. Showcasing their work, hosting student presentations, and One Pagers are great ways to encourage students to provide their own perspective.

Student Voice Strategy #3: Share all possible angles for students to gather information






When discussing engaging topics as a class, provide students with perspectives from different sources. That way, they can form their own opinion based off evidence and fact.  As a teacher, it is our duty to be knowledgeable and resourceful for our students. Through Gallery Walks, Fish Bowls, and Four Corners, we fulfill our purpose in helping students expand their voice.

What strategies do YOU use to enhance student voice in your classroom? Please feel free to add to our feed. And if you find this content helpful, please share!

Leshea Daniels is a former special education teacher and faculty advisor. She currently works with Teach for America. 

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