Teacher tip: Amplify literacy with student voice

​​​Students who are empowered - through voice, agency and leadership - demonstrate deeper engagement and enriched participation in the classroom, school and community.

We know that literacy skills are fundamental to accessing curriculum, building critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and enhancing communication skills.

Empowering teaching and learning of literacy also lifts student ability to self-direct learning and the development of self-regulation. The independent learning and problem-solving skills of empowered students are lifelong attributes.

Attributes of the empowered student

Through establishing literacy based routines across the curriculum students will be further supported to build their voice in learning, demonstrate leadership and exercise agency.

Literacy routines should privilege key skills such as:

  • purposeful listening
  • reading aloud
  • paraphrasing and summarising  
  • building expressive and receptive language skills
  • metalinguistic awareness
  • multimodal comprehension and expression.

We know that empowering teaching and learning experiences are happening when the following take place.

Voice

  • students ask questions and share ideas and opinions
  • students negotiate learning goals and assessment
  • students share their ideas and opinions
  • teachers actively seek feedback from students
  • teaching incorporates real life contexts and learning beyond the classroom
  • teachers develop team-building skills which enable students to collaborate.

Agency

  • students take responsibility for their learning
  • students can track and measure their own learning growth
  • students display capabilities, confidence and willingness to contribute ideas about what and how they will learn
  • teachers co-design learning plans with students
  • teachers model and develop students' critical, creative and higher order thinking skills
  • teachers provide opportunities for students to share their learning, teach, question and challenge each other.

Leadership

  • students set high expectations for themselves
  • students have a growth mindset and build their knowledge and skills through effort
  • students represent their school and their peers through active participation in a student leadership team
  • teachers support students to engage with the school community in different forums
  • teachers support students to self-evaluate
  • teachers develop students' skills and confidence to seek and sustain partnerships for learning.

Amplify: Student voice, agency and leadership practice guide

Amplify is a practice guide for school leaders and teachers. It explains how to create the conditions, employ the practices and develop behaviours, attitudes and learning environments that are conducive to student voice, agency and leadership. The resource can be used by school leaders and teachers to facilitate rich conversations, collaborate and take actions to empower students.

Teachers who use Amplify practices to build literacy can engage their students in intentional learning interactions at all stages of the Victorian Curriculum F-10.

The collaborative, interactional processes that are the key to student empowerment and safe learning spaces also increase literacy.

Teaching strategies such as modelling, observation, feedback, peer support and sharing with others provide students with opportunities to gradually take responsibility for their learning as they exercise their literacy.

For more information about structures, processes and practices that empower students to engage in their own learning, explore the practice guide.

Additional resources for teachers

Feedback welcome

For more information, or to share your feedback, email: professional.practice@edumail.vic.gov.au.