1. Start with an authentic task.
What the students are working towards should provide a genuine opportunity to address problems they are directly experiencing or have experienced. This will vary from location to location depending on circumstances that are happening within each school. Opportunities such as;
- Student Q&A on a health topic of their choice,
- Student led wellness festival addressing a health topic of their choice,
- Digital health resources the school website can utilise on parent/student portals,
- Coaching or teaching a health topic of their choice to younger grades.
Including authentic tasks may require some modification to assessment, however student accountability will drive engagement and feelings of being valued and belonging. ‘Even within centrally determined curriculum, schools have discovered and developed opportunities for negotiation of learning methods; in other less constrained courses’ (Student Voice – Education, 2022)
2. Facilitate students to build content through a critical lens
Dr. Lousie McCuaig affirms that adults are not very good at creating health resources for young people in Hardman (2021) Mobilising Student Voice for Respectful Relationships in HPE. “Don’t" messages, created by adults, are often dismissed by young people however, can be utilised in the classroom. Existing resources can be critically analysed to initially identify their value for young people and provide guidance in creating their own resources.
Making sure they remain valuable to students, a useful resource should be:
- Relevant to young people
- From a credible source
- Provide quality and local information
3. Promote maximum student ownership
To establish student empowerment and ownership facilitate as many events as possible that are created, devised and conducted by the students. Like anything, this may take some time to set up and perfect, however the overarching message of student ownership and student led learning will aid in improving the outcomes because students begin to feel valued and heard.
Students are central to the profession of teaching and teachers need to listen to students to ensure their needs are being met. (Student Voice – Education, 2022)
- Student voice drives student engagement and improves their outcomes across all areas because they feel valued, engaged and a sense of belonging.
- Student voice has the potential to create positive change that would benefit the whole school community.
- Student voice activities teach civics and citizenship in a tangible, practical way.
- Students who feel their voice is valued by their school, also feel safer and more supported in the school environment
As you are reviewing your units in the coming final weeks of school, I encourage you to pinpoint at least one opportunity where you might be able to implement a strategy for utilising student voice for better delivery of HPE.
Hardman, J. (2021). Mobilising Student Voice for Respectful Relationships in HPE. [online] Vimeo. Available at: https://vimeo.com/605625563/fcfb289955?embedded=true&source=video_title&owner=131503192 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2022].
www.education.act.gov.au. (n.d.). Student Voice - Education. [online] Available at: https://www.education.act.gov.au/public-school-life/student-voice [Accessed 5 Nov. 2022].
www.education.vic.gov.au. (n.d.). Student voice practice guide (Amplify). [online] Available at: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/practice/improve/Pages/amplify.aspx.