Worldwide Innovation Summit for Education #WISE 2012–Part 3

Panel Session – Education and Society: Listening to Learners

This was an interesting session around the balance between listening to learners and to being led by students.

It made me think about how do I listen to young people?

Do children at my school have a real say in how they are educated?

What about you?

There is a big focus and pressure from society and media for young people to take more control of their learning but how effective is this in schools? Some children may have a say such as through a student council but how much impact or change does this actually make?

I think there is a specific need for the leadership and management of a school to create the appropriate conditions and culture to allow true collaboration to take place between all stakeholders within a school. A integral part of this is making sure that children have the opportunities and the trust to have more involvement in how they are educated? Do we just let students take control or do we need to develop systems to empower young people?

It reminds me of something that happened last week at ISS. A small group of young junior students through the student council were unhappy with some of the waste packaging at lunch time, so they wanted to change this for the better. They went through the student council to suggest an idea to move forward which was parents providing tubberware containers for a child’s lunch, any student who provides one then they would receive discount on their lunch at school. Now this was a great idea but some of the teachers needed to ask the right questions for the young children to move the idea forward. They then approached the tuck shop manager and talked the idea through and sent a letter to parents and the scheme has started this week. This is young people taking control in ‘real time’ and rapidly happening and changing something for the better. This has been an invaluable learning experience for them. Do all young learners have their voices heard? What do you think?

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