For years I would stand up in front of my classes telling them exactly what they were going to to do and when, never giving any consideration as to whether it was of any interest to them. After all, I’m the teacher and I know best, right??? Until about 2 years ago when my current teaching environment changed. I went from teaching K-4 to teaching K-6, which was a welcomed change, but one I wasn’t quite prepared for.
After struggling to engage my 6th grade students in my lessons I realized I needed to make some changes. And almost out of desperation I asked my students what they were interested in. I used a quick Socrative survey to ask my students what units/activities they were interested in participating in. So I used the data that they provided and started to plan my future lessons. For the remainder of that year I would offer 2-3 different activities for the students to participate in. All activities were aligned with the standards, curriculum and objectives. As I reflected on my teaching I realized that my students had a greater insight into their learning than I ever gave them credit for. To this day I continue to collect data, now through Google Forms, as to their interests and plan my lessons based upon this data. This “ah-ha” moment opened my eyes to a new way to approach teaching. Ever since, I’ve made a conscious effort to utilize my student’s ideas, interests, and abilities to develop more meaningful lessons and activities that promote a more engaged learning environment.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the “teacher”, but my role is more of facilitator. I allow my students to display their understanding and knowledge of concepts and skills in multiple ways. This may be as simple of giving them the option to work individually, with a partner or in a small group. I also provide choices for activities/games, allowing students to choose an activity based upon their perceived ability, not mine. We must meet our students individual learning styles by providing them the optimal opportunity for learning and who better to know what that is than our students. I challenge you to examine your teaching style and ask yourself this question: Do my students have a voice in their learning? When you provide opportunities for your students to be heard, it’s amazing as to what you (the teacher) can learn!
Below are this weeks questions, thanks for sharing your thoughts!
1- Do you feel it is important to promote student voice in physical education? Why or why not?
2- In what ways do you promote student voice in your classes?
3- What benefits can student voice provide our classes and student learning?
4- What barriers/challenges do you see in incorporating student voice into your classes?
5 – What tools, activities, and strategies do/can you utilize that promote student voice?