This post is part of our 10 week blogging series around ways in which we you can make student voice an exciting experience in school. Each week we will write a blog post on a different angle that you can take.
This week we are focusing on encouraging students to share ideas and opinions with each other. How can you do that? Our two favourite tips are below.
1. Create a safe environment that welcomes new ideas
Students will feel comfortable enough to share their ideas with each other when the environment welcomes openness. It’s so important to create openness and honesty within the group so that students do not feel that they will be judged for sharing their own thoughts and opinions. Creating the right atmosphere will encourage more students to open up and share.
But, how do you create a safe environment?
Creating a safe environment comes out of setting down firm but fair ground rules; ground rules affirming that everyone’s opinion is valued and no one is to be judged for sharing their opinions. Ground rules which give all members the time and space to share which will encourage students to contribute. Appropriate ground rules will also give more quiet students the confidence to speak out.
2. Always welcome new ideas!
Encouraging students to share ideas and opinions will naturally flow out of an atmosphere of idea-sharing. For this to form, there needs to be lots of opportunities to share. The heart of student voice is getting away from one individual forming plans and agendas, but instead opening it up for discussion and idea sharing with everyone. You’ll find that the more often you welcome new ideas, the more students will open up and that often leads to positive outcomes.
Be sure to tune in next week for our third blog out of ten which will be focusing on creating lots of different opportunities where students can participate. See last week’s blog here.