What do we want to learn? Student voice in the social studies lessons
Keywords:citizenship, student voice, curriculum
Student voice initiatives have been increasing over the last decade, especially since the ratification of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child and the introduction of citizenship education in many countries across the world. In essence student voice is a way of thinking premised on the conviction that students have unique perspectives on learning, teaching and schooling, that their insights warrant not only the attention but also the responses of adults and that they should be afforded opportunities to actively shape their education.
The concept of student voice can also be relevant for the teaching of social studies. It can offer a way to activate prior knowledge of students and build on their life contexts and prior experiences, making education more relevant and culture responsive. A first try out of having students negotiate guiding questions for two social studies lesson series has shown that students offer unique perspectives on topics and themes we want to address in our social studies classrooms. Having students participate in this process offers them opportunities to experience and develop a number of active and democratic citizenship skills.