What Can We Learn From Student Voice?
Presented by: Jacqueline Hagel
“Education is not something we do to them, it should be something we do with them.”
“Education is not something we do to them, it should be something we do with them.” These are the words that have resounded within me after listening to Jacqueline Hagel present on the importance of youth voice. Jacqueline talked about the importance of data and research. You can not begin to solve a problem without first knowing the why and the how; data is extremely useful for starting conversations and inspiring thought. The only thing is, data is just the beginning; it is just part of the picture. We can sit and look at graphs and pie charts as long as we like, but nothing, no matter how hard we stare, will get done. How do we, teachers and students, bridge that gap from data to action, create change and meaningful responses based on the facts? Students are the key. We are the ones who experience school in the most critical way, that is the whole point of the Our School surveys; seeing what needs to be fixed and then providing an outlet to do something. Our School surveys provide opportunity for thousands of students all around Saskatchewan and Canada to say something and be listened to .
It’s so hard to find true solutions;be that as it may, there are many examples of this all around the province. Examples of providing support and not just hearing but listening, taking action in accordance with young people’s voices. If the teachers truly care and engage with the students, it encourages participation and creates a safe space for students to be themselves and pursue their interest in learning; however, there are still so many students who don’t feel a sense of belonging, that do not have positive relationships, and who are dealing with mental illnesses and/or bullying.. Did you know one-in-two First Nation or Metis girls don’t feel a sense of belonging at school, and in grades nine to ten the levels of anxiety double with that demographic, compared to the rest of the population. What does this say about the deep rooted ideas within our society? Throughout history people have been persecuted because they are different, and no matter how hard we try to believe that Canada is perfect, this continues to happen everyday in every school around the world.
Jacqueline really emphasized that action needs to be taken, youth voices need to be
heard, and that teaching at its finest should be a partnership. As a student, this is the kind of conversation that I truly appreciate in a school system that is far from perfect, but getting better every day.
By: ELIJAH REN