Friday, March 9, 2018

Student Voice: Students and Teachers as Partners in Learning

By Linda Ashida

Nicole Holubec & Nathan Beltran lead an Institute Day Session
Over the course of the last few years, it has become more routine for us to include students in our Collab Lab's Professional Learning experiences––not just to participate, but also to plan and lead sessions with teachers.  Whether for our Teaming on Tuesday Workshops, Virtual Learning Cohort, Peer Observations, Institute Days, whenever we partner with students we learn so much from their perspectives: how they learn best and what motivates them in their learning. Their insight and thoughtful questions provoke us to reflect more deeply and make shifts in our practice based on their feedback.

At the same time, the students learn from the teachers and why we make the decisions we do. We build mutual understanding that contributes in an important way to the culture of learning of the school. And, after all, the students are the reason we're all here, so it only stands to reason that they should have voice in what learning looks like for them!

Nathan started our Weekly Quote Wall

To ensure that student voice is more routinely embedded in all that we do, this year we have invited two students, Freshman Natalia Habas and Senior Nathan Beltran, to join our Collab Team of teachers. In addition to joining us for scheduled meetings, they often drop by simply to see what's new, offer to help with our latest learning ventures (often inviting more students to join us), share insight from their classroom or external learning experiences, or share a new inspirational "Weekly Quote"  on our Whiteboard wall (totally their idea!).  It's becoming a genuine partnership.

In all of these shared experiences, we become learners together.  We walk the walk of one of our favorite Collab Lab mantras: "We are all teachers, we are all learners." Together we stretch our thinking, problem solve, explore possibilities––and we have fun, too!

Wonder what it all looks like? Sounds like? Read on!

Students lead Institute Day sessions.

Matt, Ryan, Mike and Zoe share insight on learning in their
Athletic Performance class.

To Learn more about what our Institute Days look like, check out this Collab Blog post:  Construction Zone: Drafting Blueprints for Learning

Students join Instructional Coaching sessions and Peer Observation Experiences.  
Following class visits they ask probing questions and offer feedback. 
They really do make us reflect more deeply on why we do what we do.

Nathan asks probing questions of Mark Heintz following a visit to his AP World
History Class. He inquired about how Mr. Heintz decided student groups, how he
knew if the students learned, and how he followed up when they needed support.

To learn more about what we learn from students when they join us for class visits and follow-up conversations, check out the following Collab Blog posts:   #214EdPrep: Collaborating in Professional LearningStudents Giving Teachers Feedback

Students share their perspectives with teachers across District 214 and beyond 
via Zoom in our Virtual Learning Cohort focused on Student Voice in Learning.

Nathan and Autumn share insight with Ms. Frazier from Grove Jr. High in CCSD59,
Mr. Loch, and Ms. Ashida from EGHS

Learning is serious business, but it's fun, too!

Check out the video clip below from a recent Virtual Learning Cohort conversation. 
Nathan and Autumn share examples of how their teachers foster a classroom culture 
that helps them learn.

To learn more about our Virtual Learning Cohort, check out the following Collab Blog post:  A New Way to Connect and Learn Across Schools

Teachers invite students to share feedback and help plan future lessons.

Students give Mr. Heintz feedback on his plans for upcoming lessons
in AP World History

To read more about how Mark Heintz solicits feedback from students, check out his weekly Collab Blog posts: A Year in AP: Student Feedback and Reflection.

Students join us for Teaming on Tuesday workshops.

The photo above is from a Teaming on Tuesday conversation with a panel of students who joined us to talk about the purpose of school and learning in their classes. To learn more about the insight the shared, check out this blog post:  What is the Purpose of School: Students Perspective

Students collaborate with Principal Paul Kelly to explore possibilities to broaden student voice school-wide via an Advisory Group. They visited Maine South High School to exchange ideas with Principal Ben Collins and students.

Natalia and Nathan listen and learn from Maine South HS students and then present their ideas to the group.

Students share their learning experiences via Twitter.

Nathan shares Institute Day experience with shout out to teachers.
Nicole shares Institute Day experience participating in a session
facilitated by English teacher Kim Miklusak and a panel of students.

Natalia encourages and congratulates teachers and students at
Friendship Junior High School for their community service.

Nathan shares experience reading with elementary school students.

Natalia retweets with comment to share her experience joining teachers
in the Collab Lab's Virtual Learning Cohort

Students share their learning experiences as guest writers for the Collab Blog, publishing 
posts that reach hundreds of readers in the Elk Grove Community and beyond.

Natalia served as our student Collab Lab rep to write a blog post about and
EG student leadership experience at Grove Junior High School

Hannah wrote a Collab Blog post to share her teaching experience in the
Ed Prep program

Here are a few links to some of the student-authored Collab Blog posts:

Feedback from both staff and students on the impact of all of these learning experiences has been overwhelmingly positive. In the future we plan continue to make it even more the norm to Connect-Learn-Share with students––to partner even more in our learning together!

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