A key aspect of education that is too often overlooked, is the positive impact that embedding student voice in every level of decision-making could have on student and overall school outcomes.
Each year, The Age hosts a professional development conference called "The Age Schools Summit" that is attended by over 200 teachers, principals and other stakeholders in the education system. With topics on the table like safety in schools, disengagement and accessibility education, VicSRC was delighted to present a panel on how many of the barriers and challenges teachers face could be solved with the proper and committed implementation of student voice.
Four Student Executive Advisory Committee members put up their hand to share their views and opinions on the way student voice can most effectively be improved in schools and what the long lasting benefits could look like for all.
Grace (she/her), Wesley (he/him), Joseph (he/him) and Eric (he/him) discussed the idea of student voice as a 'culture' rather than a 'tick-the-box' activity. With a lot of vague and often watered-down perspectives of what student voice is, the panelists aimed to define, de-mystify and myth-bust everything around what student voice realistically looks like in action.
"When people talk about student voice, what they’re really referring to, is student culture. It’s a culture where students are speaking openly about issues that they face. It’s a culture where young people are taking agency of their learning, and shaping their educational experiences. It’s a culture where students set the standard, rather than fighting to meet expectations." - Wesley.
From their own experiences of effective student voice initiatives in their schools such as Joseph and his peers' demand of a co-designed consent education workshop, the audience was given a glimpse into the benefits of student voice not only for student education, but for the teachers and principals themselves.
VicSRC was proud to be represented at such an esteemed event and look forward to next year's conference where we will continue to champion the power of student voice for all.