Contributing to the organisation of education can improve the curriculum and motivate students. But how might we define the student voice, and how can teachers channel it in productive ways? What are the best ways to enable students to participate in shaping their courses? Do teachers require additional skills to collaborate with students in this process?
In 2004, SoundOut, an organisation working to improve meaningful student involvement, began defining student voice as ‘the individual and collective perspective and actions of young people within the context of learning and education’.
Since then, the importance of incorporating student voice into educational processes has expanded and now includes students and pupils at all stages of education. Any person participating in the process of learning has a voice that should be engaged and heard. Students have a right to participate in the development and design of their own learning.
Education is coming to be viewed as a democratic process where the student has input and ownership over their educational journey. In fact, this can be relevant for nursery age children as well as for young people at colleges or universities.
What’s clear is that it is increasingly important to ensure that learners are engaged in the teaching and learning process but also in their role within their educational institution. Education prepares young people for life in the wider world. It is therefore vital, given the growing importance of internationalisation and the impact of recent global events such as 'Brexit' and potential changes in government policy, to consider whether an international aspect to student voice activities is a potential benefit.