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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Student voice

How do our students view learning? How do they see their future, and define success? Is school meeting their expectations? Which subjects do they like or dislike – and why? What helps them to learn? What makes a good teacher?

Students learn best when they feel accepted, when they enjoy positive relationships with their fellow students and teachers, and when they are able to be active, visible members of the learning community.
The New Zealand Curriculum

Questions to think about in your school context

  • How does the concept of  ako underpin your practice?
  • What ways can you gather student voice in your department?
  • How can ICTs support gathering student voice?
  • How can you involve students in reviewing teaching and learning?
  • How could this information inform what you do within your department?


Two approaches to differentiation - Massey High School and Tamaki College
Teachers from Massey High School and Tamaki College share their approaches to differentiated writing programmes in the junior school.

Learning conversations
Teachers and students from Kelburn Normal School discuss how developing learning conversations has empowered students to feel that they can be more creative and individual. The emergence of student voice and the way students discuss their learning highlights the success of these conversations.

Putting students first in English at John McGlashan College
Iain McGilchrist is the head of English at John McGlashan College in Dunedin. He discusses how they use student voice to help plan the content of what they are going to teach. Iain also discusses how student voice guides assessment opportunities.

Putting students first in English at Albany Senior High School
At Albany Senior High School students are at the forefront when designing English courses. They believe that the important thing to remember is that it is all about the students' own learning, their engagement, and therefore their ownership of that learning.

Our vision for English at Katikati College
Natalie Cowie, head of English at Katikati College, takes us through the process her department used to develop a vision for teaching and learning - including giving students a chance to contribute their ideas.


Better than a professional? Students as co-contributors to educational design
Researchers worked with junior secondary students to consider teaching and learning practices in their schools.

Making sense of learning at secondary school: An exploration by teachers with students
This project shows the value of acknowledging the student as an important and authentic voice within the teaching–learning relationship.

The Backchannel: Giving Every Student a Voice in the Blended Mobile Classroom
A backchannel - a digital conversation that runs concurrently with a face-to-face activity - provides students with an outlet to engage in conversation. This edutopia article contains many examples that can be used in an English classroom.

EdCafes: Student Voice with Choice
Dawn Lam is an English Teacher. Here, she shares how she came about the idea of an EdCafe, describes her process, and reflects on the implementation and impact on student learning.

To extend your thinking

Publishing student voice
David Kinane discusses the benefits of capturing student voice and rapidly publishing this content in a public space. He argues that student work does not need to be polished before publishing. Putting up ‘raw and flawed’ work allows students to receive peer feedback and engage in collaborative processes.

Updated on: 20 Oct 2015