• Look at Models for Student Voice
  • Empower Voices through Writing
  • Co-Create Meaning
  • Develop Tools for Deliberative Dialogue
  • Use Tools for Co-Creating

1. Look at Models for Student Voice

SoundOut is an organization that promotes student voice in school through research, training, and resource-sharing. Its systemic approaches to whole-school reform “emphasize practical, considerable and holistic roles for students as partners in learning and leadership throughout education.”

SoundOut’s activities are based on Adam Fletcher’s Frameworks for Meaningful Student Involvement. They offer a variety of activities based on those Frameworks, as well as a classroom curriculum for middle and high school students.

To access SoundOut’s resources for student voice, click here.

2. Empower Voices through Writing

The National Writing Project (NWP) is a professional development network supporting teachers of writing at all grade levels, primary through university, and in all subjects. NWP’s programs and resources combine motivational and skill-building activities, peer group interaction, and publishing opportunities.

Resource topics on Teaching Writing include Diversity/Equity, English Language Learners, Rural Education, Urban Education, and Writing in the Community. Each topic includes a variety of downloadable resources, from bibliographies and research to teaching strategies, case studies and lesson plans.

To explore these resources, click here.

3. Co-Create Meaning

Looking at essential texts together — whether it’s Hamlet during an English class, or a new school policy during a faculty meeting — is a great way to empower all voices and create a more collaborative school culture.

The “Four A’s” Protocol is a great way to structure the group inquiry process. After reading a chosen text separately, all participants are asked to answer four questions, and ten discuss their answers as a group:

  • What Assumptions does the author of the text hold?
  • What do you Agree with in the text?
  • What do you want to Argue with in the text?
  • What parts of the text do you want to Aspire to?

(An alternative fourth “A”: What Action do you want to take?)

To download a free copy of the “Four A’s” Protocol, click here

4. Develop Tools for Deliberative Dialogue

Deliberative democracy is an approach to democracy that puts people at the center, and that is more “voice-centered” than “vote-centered.” In this conception of democracy, individuals play a more robust role from the local to the global levels.

Deliberative democracy is animated by the idea that public deliberation is essential for better and fairer solutions to problems we face in common, for a stronger sense of legitimacy for public processes and institutions, and for stronger communities.

Deliberative dialogue is a set of practices for communicating with others and addressing common problems and issues. These practices enable people to talk about difficult issues not only on the basis of knowledge, facts, and professional expertise, but also from the perspective of their deeper concerns, values and personal experience. These practices help participants speak not only as individuals, but as members of a community, not only as groups with competing interests, but also as a community with shared interests, concerns and goals.

To find out more about deliberative democracy, visit the Deliberative Democracy Consortium.

5. Use Tools for Co-Creating

Human beings are always smarter working together than working alone. To capitalize on this truism, use tools such as the Tuning and Charrette protocols to improve your school’s shared practices, structures, plans and visions.

The Tuning Protocol lends itself best to work that has been completed, and may even have already been used. (The tuning was originally developed as a means for five high schools to receive feedback and fine-tune their developing student assessment systems.)

To download the Tuning Protocol, click here.

The Charrette Protocol is a term and process borrowed from the architectural community. Its purpose is to improve a piece of work in process. Charrettes are used to “kick up” the level of performance, particularly when a team has reached a point in the developmental process where they cannot easily move forward on their own. They bring their current ideas and ask the group to “work on the work” for them.

To download the Charrette Protocol, click here.