Pupil voice is a relatively new ‘concept’. I say ‘concept’ because I am sure it’s been discussed and implemented before, just under the guise of a different buzzword or term. From what I understand, ‘pupil voice’ is making an attempt to increase the influence that children make on the education that is experienced in the classroom. See here for full definition from Department of Education.
Whether this is an effective approach in schools is another discussion. What I am interested in is the extent that teachers have a place in which they work and learn. Until recently, and even now, some would argue that teachers don’t have a large voice in the key decisions made which influence their day to day life.
In a recent blog post, @TeacherToolkit stated that teachers must use social media and the collective force of blogs to make a statement about the decisions that are made about lesson observations rather than sit back and expect to be told what to do. When I read this excellent blog post, I couldn’t help but think of that terminology and relate it to children in the classroom.
As teachers, we are (in the main) qualified to do our jobs. Even if we are not qualified, we go through continuous professional development. We should know what we’re talking about, even if we sometimes disagree. I don’t think it would be far off the mark to suggest that in the history of formal education, teachers today have the potential to have the loudest voice they’ve ever had.
Note the ‘potential’ in the latter sentence. We are not at the optimum decibel yet, but we are moving in that direction. I have only been connected to an online gathering of teachers through Twitter and blogging by for about 3 months, and yet in that time there have been some exciting developments. The Headteachers Roundtable Manifesto is just one example where teachers are being given a voice and this voice is being listened to. I’m sure you’re all familiar with many others.
I think this point would be one of the many to those who are not currently engaging with this flood of voices and contributing to them. Imagine the power when all teachers unite their voices, again not necessarily agreeing but sounding their thoughts and advice to develop each other and assist in leading educational change.