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Student Voice: A growing movement within education that benefits students and teachers

by Kendel St. John & Lori Briel

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For decades, special educators have recorded postsecondary education goals identified by students and their families on the Individualized Education Program (IEP). This process of listening to students and supporting their ideas is just one example of the larger concept of student voice.

In an era of increased accountability and measured student outcomes, student voice represents a growing movement in education. Instead of a top down, teacher directed approach to learning, students play an active and equal role in planning, learning, and leading their classroom instruction as well as contributing to the development of school practices and policies. This significant philosophical shift requires all stakeholders to embrace the belief that there is something to learn from every individual regardless of age, culture, socioeconomic status, or other qualifying factors.

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