Reflections and Advice from the Field
Edited By Heather Lattimer and Stacey Caillier
Section Three: Engaging Student Voice
When I first started my research I wasn’t aware how different the students’ perception is from my perception. I learned to ask them questions and then listen to them. I just find that to be the most helpful thing, just directly asking them … That’s one huge thing I learned from AR. This statement, shared by one of the graduates of our teacher education program, echoes the sentiments of many who have gone through action research—a crit- ical element of our learning as teacher researchers comes from learning to listen to our students’ voices. This concept seems obvious; after all, as teachers we en- counter student voices all day, every day. But learning to step back and really hear what they are saying is, unfortunately, not always a standard part of our teaching practice. This is understandable. We are busy, there are always competing student demands, some student complaints are way off base, and let’s face it, sometimes it can be pretty intimidating to ask students for their honest input. But when we slow down and open the conversation to listen to student voices we often learn remarkable things about our students, our teaching, and ourselves. In my own teaching some of my most powerful learning took place when I listened to the voices of my students. As a brand new high school history teacher I was initially annoyed and somewhat insulted when my students asked the pro- verbial question “Why do we have to learn this?” I thought that...
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