Resources

Supporting Student Voice for English Learners

definition
Students are empowered when their values, opinions, beliefs, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds are respected, and when instructional approaches and techniques reflect their choices, interests, passions, and ambitions. The barriers to developing student voice are particularly challenging for English Learners (ELs) who may literally find themselves without a voice in the school community.
Underlying Principles
The following conditions support student voice for English Learners in the educational community:
• The chance to belong to a group working to effect positive change in the learning environment (e.g., student governance or ambassador clubs).
• A trusting relationship with an adult advocate who knows and values them (e.g., advisories).
• Students have choice in what they learn and how they learn it (e.g., project-based learning).
• Students take ownership for their learning by setting goals and monitoring their progress (e.g., personal learning plans and student-led conferences).
Teachers can empower English Learners within their classrooms as well as by acting as an advisor or support for extra-curricular clubs and activities. 
Rationale
Teachers must create a set of conditions in which EL students have a voice in the decision-making process about their own learning and issues that affect their daily experiences in school.
resources
Focus on Student Ambassador and Mentoring Programs
ExcEL: Community Meeting
Mentoring
ENL Ambassadors
Student Agency and Student Centered Learning. This resource is not EL specific but is applicable to students at all grade levels.
Resources and tools from the Center for Secondary School Redesign addressing ways to build student agency, including student governance and advisory programs.
Larry Ferlazzo teaches English, Social Studies, and IB classes to ELs and mainstream students at Luther Burbank HS in California. He is a prolific writer and this link takes you to a curated page of practical blog posts related to student voice.
Blog Posts – Student Voice.
Explore additional resources from the ExcEL Design Studio
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