Recently, I have had the opportunity to speak with a large number of teachers, Vice principals and Curriculum leaders about the way forward for education. We spoke of many things, but one that has stuck in my mind is the role of Student Voice in leading learning. It ties nicely with Hattie’s assertion that one of the key ways to promote ‘visible’ learning is through feedback, not the kind from teacher to students (while I am sure that teachers SHOULD be doing this), but the kind from student to teacher. When we think about it, it makes sense: teachers who are open to the feedback from students are naturally inquisitive about the impact of their teaching- not from the ‘achievements’ calculated from exam results, but direct from the source of the learning- the students- and it is immediate. This worked. This didn’t. This type of interaction is incredibly powerful for both teachers and students and links to another key factor that Hattie’s research makes clear: the positive rapport between teachers and students is incredibly powerful in visible learning outcomes. And again, this makes sense. Teachers who are passionate about their subject, about learning and who value what their students have to say about the learning experiences they create, well, they are going to have positive relationships with their students.
So the idea of student advisors is one that I think can be incredibly powerful for both students and teachers. Students already know an awful lot about the learning process- they are engaged in it up to 6 hours a day: they know ‘effective’ lessons from those that aren’t, they know when they are learning and, if taught to be meta-cognitive and reflective, exactly how they are learning. What an effective tool to have in a school- a group of well-trained student advisors giving feedback to teachers on the learning that occurs in classrooms. To me, that is what real learning is about; not teachers ‘teaching’ but the deliberate and empowering partnership of students and teachers working together to create better learning in the classroom.