I recently heard Student Voice being described as the ‘latest trendy term in education.’

That may be so, but I’d argue it’s a pretty important concept to understand if we are serious about reaching every kid.

Research indicates that disengagement from school rises with age, to the point that nearly half the kids sitting in your Year 12 class, actually don’t really see the point of doing so.

Moreover the latest findings from the OECD suggest that 20% of Australian students ‘don’t feel as though they belong’ at their school.

I’ve spoken before about the need for students to feel that they belong, citing the work of Professor Ian Shochet.

He says kids need to be able to answer 2 questions:

Do I feel able to be myself at school?

Is there an adult at school to whom I could go if I had a serious issue?

I’d also suggest that we could also look to empower the student voice, so that students have ownership of their school.

The basis for pupil voice is to be found in Article 12 of the United Nation Convention of the Rights of the Child, which sets out the right of children and young people to express an opinion and to have that opinion taken into account when decisions are being made on any matter that affects them.

How many decisions at your school take into account the opinions of students?

Just for starters, how could you – or how inclined would you be – to take into account the opinions of students on the following issues?

* How to improve teaching and learning at your school.

* How to integrate technology into the life and identity of the school.

* Your school’s motto.

* Staffing Appointments.

* School policies – attendance, uniform, behavioural etc.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Author: Dan Haesler is a teacher, consultant and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. His website is: http://danhaesler.com/ and he tweets at @danhaesler