Engaging student voice to improve pedagogy and learning: An exploration of examples of innovative pedagogical approaches for school improvement


Drawing on some recent work in schools in the UK, this paper considers some evidence that suggests that involving students in dialogue about their own learning helps young people become better learners, and teachers improve their pedagogy. There continues to be significant barriers and challenges to the development of such innovations in schools in the UK. Chief among these are the fears of teachers relating to accountability for the performance of their students in standardised tests. However, there are many teachers who are finding and creating opportunities to develop dialogic engagement with their students, even within this context. It is from their practice that examples and illustrations are presented and some implications are drawn out for school improvement


Caroline Lodge
Institute of Education, University of London, United Kingdom


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Student voice, effective learning, school improvement


PP: 4 - 19


This paper1 explores how teachers are developing their pedagogic understanding and practice through engaging their students in dialogue about learning. Experience in a number of projects in primary and secondary schools in the UK suggests that understanding of both teachers and students about learning can develop through an enquiry approach. Enquiries that engage teachers in dialogue with their students help them understand more about the learning of their students, adapt their practices and, through feedback, learn more. And so a virtuous circle is created. Teachers initially feel that there are significant barriers to this work in the UK, as they experience the pressures of a regime of accountability for performance of their students, pressures from students who also prioritise standardised tests above everything. One theme of this paper, however, is that small changes to teachers' practices can bring large benefits to both teachers and learners.

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