One of the key considerations in creating an equitable learning environment is equity of voice: who is in the room, and who isn’t? Part of equity of voice means having the voices of those who will be most affected represented in your process. Thus it is important for your team to involve students in your work of designing equitable learning conditions.
Students are in the best position to understand what does and doesn’t work for them and are experts in their experiences at school. While educators may also be spending all day in a school, that experience is different from actively putting oneself in students’ shoes and trying to experience school in the way they would. Empathizing and perspective-taking is an important part of the process, since even if whatever changes your team comes up with are created with the best of intentions, ultimately, what matters is how students perceive and experience those changes.
This chapter includes resources on ways to involve students to hear their voice and elicit their expertise. Additionally, there are resources and empathy exercises for adults to engage so that they can get a better understanding of students and their experiences.