Three VicSRC students talk to education expert Mary Jean Gallagher about how student voice enhances their experiences at school
On her recent trip to Victoria, international education expert Dr Mary Jean Gallagher took time out to chat all things student voice with three student leaders from the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC).
The three student leaders – Ashley, Wren and Bethany – explain why they feel it is so important for her teachers to include the voice of students in the teaching and learning cycle.
'The more we listen to students, the more likely we are to actually be meeting their needs and moving education forward in ways that are more interesting and more relevant to students,' Mary Jean said.
Top tips from students about the value of their voice
As one half of a classroom, students deserve an equal voice
When students have a strong sense of agency, starting with more commitment and a strengthened focus on their learning, a positive cycle of learning is generated.
'Student voice is imperative to students and part of their whole schooling experience because student voice is a representation of equity among the students across the state of Victoria,' Ashley said.
'It not only enables students to voice their opinion but it also allows students to give feedback to the Department of Education which allows a cycle of continuity within the curriculum.'
VicSRC can give your students a rich opportunity to discuss what matters to them
'VicSRC is strategically lead by students from all across the Metropolitan and rural areas of Victoria,' Wren said.
'We host events that really work to promote best practice for student voice through our schools and in the wider community because student voice is an integral part of furthering education, and VicSRC believes in that as well.'
An opportunity to have an open conversation with school leaders
Students can be empowered in a number of ways, particularly through student representation. Listening to their voice helps students invest in their own learning, gain a better understanding of what good learning is and the purpose of it.
'So student voice is acknowledged in our school by having a student representative council which is a cross section of school to represent the school and give them a voice in the educational system and their experience,' Bethany said.
'We meet with the principal on a frequent basis to also express the issues students might have and make sure they are addressed.'
Support student voice in your classroom
Student voice through organisations such as VicSRC has become an integral part of the Victorian education system. Helping students to take ownership of their education enhances their engagement and enriches their participation in the school community.
The Department has developed a number of resources including a professional practice note and Amplify – a student voice practice guide – to support teachers and school leaders to make the most of the insights that students can bring to the education conversation. Explore them below and discover how your school can create a positive climate for learning.
Explore Amplify: The student voice practice guide
Professional Practice Note 12: Amplify learning with student voice