Research shows that giving students agency and influence in their learning makes them more engaged and invested in their education. It also empowers them to take control, show initiative, and adopt leadership roles. Giving students voice and choice also helps them feel valued, encourages them to realize their interests and potential, and can improve their academic outcomes.
Student voice, choice and social and emotional learning (SEL) go hand-in-hand. SEL helps students develop agency because it teaches them to engage authentically as leaders, problem-solvers, and decision-makers. It also improves students’ communication skills and their ability to advocate for themselves.
Here are four ways schools can incorporate student voice, choice, and SEL in students’ learning.
Example 1: Student voice, choice and leadership
Involving students in designing their instruction can be a great way to promote student voice/choice, and it also fosters leadership skills, motivation, and investment in their education. Invite students to design all or part of their SEL instruction, perhaps during an advisory period. Have students define what the instruction will include, how it will be facilitated, and how they can measure program impacts.