Meaningful Student Involvement

Author: Cristine Chopra

Abstract


Student voice and various forms of student involvement in schooling have become increasingly common in schools and educational settings. By drawing on research that connects student involvement to increased motivation we document how meaningful student engagement, at one school, has influenced student perspectives about school, their teachers, and themselves. This action research project includes a focus group with 4 students who participate in various forms of student voice such as Data-In-A-Day and providing instructional feedback through instructional walks and student generated instructional memos. This data provides a qualitative record of these students’ experiences and the structure of their participation in such activities. Resulting analysis documents the ways in which these students’ participation in student voice initiatives improved their ability to advocate for themselves and their peers, as well as changed their perceptions of their school, their teachers, instructional practice, and schooling in general. Additionally, by drawing on research linking teacher beliefs about students to educational practice, we propose ideas for further research to investigate teachers’ perspectives of student involvement in these ways. Such research might contribute to the literature on student voice by exploring the possibility that meaningful student engagement could lead to improvements in teacher efficacy, instructional practice, and school renewal. 

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