Student Voice Big Idea - Ensure that students have opportunities to share their knowledge and perspectives in the classroom
Strategies for students to provide feedback and suggestions to classroom learning, activities, and teacher practice


Students are more engaged in classroom learning when they have opportunities to share their knowledge, perspective, and opinions. Students feel valued and respected when they are able to provide feedback and suggestions to teachers around teacher practices, classroom environment, and their own learning. Creating opportunities for students to have input into what and how they learn is only meaningful insofar as students feel like their suggestions and feedback are being heard, respected, and reflected. While teachers don’t need to ask for student input on every decision, it is important that students feel their voice matters and that their opinions are valued. As such, teachers should:

  1. Provide opportunities for students to give feedback and make suggestions about classroom learning and environment
  2. Take students seriously when they provide feedback and suggestions (1)
  3. Incorporate student feedback and suggestions into teacher and classroom practices
  4. Build opportunities for sharing knowledge and student-adult collaboration (2)
  5. Allow student-led activities (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)


For in depth practice recommendations, check out the next pages in this chapter.



  1. Salim, A. S. (2015, September 17). The importance of giving students a voice. The Express Tribune. Retrieved from
  2. Ginwright, S., Cammarota, J., & Noguera, P. (2005). Youth, social justice, and communities: Toward a Theory of Urban Youth Policy. Social Justice, 32(3), 24–40.
  3. Duncan-Andrade, J. M. R., & Morrell, E. (2008). The art of critical pedagogy: Possibilities for moving from theory to practice in urban schools (Vol. 285). Peter Lang.
  4. Kornbluh, M., Ozer, E. J., Allen, C. D., & Kirshner, B. (2015), Youth participatory action research as an approach to sociopolitical development and the new academic standards: Considerations for educators. The Urban Review 47(5), 868-892.
  5. Powers, C., & Allaman, E. (2012). How participatory action research can promote social change and help youth development. Berkman Center Research Publication, (2013-10).
  6. Voight, A., & Velez V. (2018). Youth participatory action research in the high school curriculum: Education outcomes for student participants in a district-wide initiative. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 11(3), 433-451.
  7. Carl, N. M., Kuriloff, P., Ravitch, S. M., & Reichert, M. (2018). Democratizing schools for improvement through youth participatory action research. Journal of Ethical Educational Leadership, 28-43.

Associated Measures

To help teachers track their progress in incorporating student voice, Elevate uses several survey questions:

  • This week in class, I had the opportunity to make a choice about my work.
  • This week in class, I felt like an idea I shared was taken seriously by my teacher.
  • This week in class, my teacher responded to student suggestions to make our class better.