This tool is designed to support conversations with students both in the classroom and in the school about what matters for them in their experience of school and in the classroom.
Prompt slides for discussion
Flipchart paper and markers
Invite the group to organise themselves in alphabetical order and to talk to the person beside them about what they are hoping this workshop/conversation will be about today.
The students are organised into groups of four using the group order from the Icebreaker.
A slide/worksheet with the questions on it can be used to frame the conversation. A map with an outline of the main areas of the school can be used to support the conversation.
At tables of four, student individually write down their responses to each of these questions. They then discuss their ideas with their group.
- Where is your voice heard in this school/this classroom?
- The outline map of the school can be used here to support the conversation.
- Why is having a voice important?
- What difference does it/could it make to your learning? (8 mins)
Invite student to pair off with any other student in the room. Share what you have been talking about at your table. (5 mins)
Ask students to return to their table and agree the most important thing they would like to share in response to each question. Record on a flipchart and post around the room. Teacher can facilitate a discussion around the responses if time allows. (10 mins.)
In your group, you are invited to design the ‘ideal’ classroom where all students would be fully engaged, enjoy their learning and achieving their best , have a real sense of belong what would this classroom look like? Sound like? Feel like? What three words would you use to describe this classroom? (10 mins)
Students can respond to this task as they chose, e.g. draw, describe, act out, freeze frame. (10 minutes)
Ask half the group to share their ideas and the other half to visit these groups. Repeat with the other half of the group.
Step 3: In your group, agree the most important first step that should happen for this ideal classroom to become a reality. Agree who in the group will make a case for this idea to the whole group. (5 mins).
Step 4: All students sit in a circle. The teacher/facilitator lists the ideas on the board. Each group has an opportunity to present their idea to the group. Using a dotmocracy approach, students then place a green sticker on their favourite next step and a yellow one on their second choice.
Conclusion: The students are invited to suggest what the next steps should be, who will be involved and if, and when, there will be a follow up session. (Extension exercise: Ask students to do this exercise with the whole school experience in mind.)
Extension Activity: Students prepare a presentation based on their ideas to a subject department, a staff meeting. Students could also be invited to run a similar workshop with other classes in their year group or with younger classes. The findings would then be used to address the suggestions of the students
The workshop could be used to look at building a whole school inclusive culture.
This workshop could usefully be used to introduce a Student Voice project into a classroom and/or a school. It could also be used to respond to a call fro students for a great voice in their education.