Listening to Students
1. Class meetings – Class meetings are a great way in which to let students express their thoughts, feelings and opinions and to be listened to by both the teacher and other students. (For more details – go to http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/profdev/profdev012.shtml)
2. Journal entries – Reading and responding to students’ journal entries is another effective way in which to help students feel that they have a voice. You might give them prompts that invite them to:
- Make suggestions about classroom practices or procedures.
- Express an opinion on a topic.
- Comment or ask questions regarding the class content.
- Share something about themselves.
A brief, positive response lets the student know that he or she has been heard and acknowledged.
3. Suggestion box – Keep a box somewhere in the room in which students can express thought, concerns and opinions or communicate private messages to you.
Students feel important when they are allowed to take responsibility for class jobs. Any time your give students responsibilities for necessary tasks, it is an opportunity for them to gain power. Students will often surprise you with what they can do and how well they can do it.
Employing students to teach or tutor other students empowers both the student doing the teaching, and by increasing the chances for success, the student being tutored. It can also bridge the time gap between the student who achieve mastery on the first assessment and those who need more time.
Many schools have peer mediation programs, which teach students conflict resolution skills. Why not teach these skills to all of your students? If you do so, then you can give students involved in a conflict in your classroom the option of working it out themselves, working with a peer, or involving you.
Teach and Tell
This variation of “Show and Tell” encourages students to tell the class about something they like or do well and teach the class how to do it. In middle school, students from one class can teach another class or teach others within the same class.