#SlowchatED: Empowering Student Voice in the Classroom & Beyond

i always wondereed

Rusul Alrubail‘s guest blog post for #slowchatED Week of February 2.

Student voice and autonomy is so important to foster in a learning environment. When students are empowered in the learning process their motivation and engagement with learning automatically increases. The results are positive for both the teacher and students when students take charge and become active agents in their own learning.

I wrote about student autonomy a few months ago here: https://medium.com/teaching-learning/student-autonomy-e56bd45a7f51

This was my most recommended and viewed post for a while, and I think it’s because so many of us believe in the power of student voice.

Student voice is important because:

  • It allows students to be empowered to learn.
  • It creates active agents in the classroom, school and community.
  • It tailored knowledge, learning, process to the needs of the learner.
  • It defines the future of education.
  • It has the power to change the world.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts this week when you join us at #SlowchatEd.


  1. I agree with you,but I wish it was easy. I spent an entire semester encouraging students to take ownership in class. Things are changing but this change is gradual. However, it is a learning experience for me.

    1. The first time I ever tried to give my kids some voice in the classroom (they were in the 7th grade at the time), they were sure that I was full of baloney, trying to trick them, or somehow otherwise being disingenuous. It literally took weeks to get them to start thinking in ways that allowed them to apply their imaginations to the learning. But when they did, discipline issues disappeared, the kids were kneeling on their chairs with their elbows on the desktops trying to get closer, closer, closer to the conversation. They want to be involved. They literally have to be un-brainwashed from years of compliance thinking.

      1. Hi Jeffreyfarley,
        Yes, I can understand.
        I just wanted to share that the students I am talking about are actually adults. I am teaching in the university. Most of them are impatient and want quick results. Thinking reflectively and actively constructing knowledge is too slow and time consuming for most. However, I must accept that in this batch there are some students who are trying and thus encouraging me to keep on working in this direction.

  2. This is such a beautiful topic and so dear to my heart. I am in Australia and just starting TODAY with our school year in rea lessons. I have a Homeroom class (without a physical room of our own – it is shared). the students are starting senior school = 10, 11 then 12 or Senior for you? Many come with labels and baggage. The one I told last Nov was going to be a waste of space and not interested in anything is already a star. he arrived today first and so I gave him first choice of locker – huge smile. AND I am sure he stood 2 inches taller. Another was worried her classes and teachers, by the end of the day after couple of calls with her dad he told me she only returned to school because i am to be her Home Room teacher. Another one has arrived from another school and on transition day last week (fund activities) you could see the tension in her shoulders. By end of today I could see it less and she almost smiled. She did respond to my question how was she getting on with finding buses and their is hope.
    What did I do? I am not sure beyond I treated them all as I would want to be treated and tried to make them feel welcome (oh to have a room of one’s own…but it is not the walls or the posters etc …I think it is heart and what we share and they take to the rest of their day and then take home).. I will be the support teacher in the room for some of these young people but at the start of their day i am to make it a good, gentle, peaceful and warm start so they feel empowered to learn adn together we can change the world. Their world first then ripples out.

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