Celebrating Inquiry: Spring 2016 v.2 no.2

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Students Taking Leadership Roles.....Megan Krzyzanska & Dominique Borrelli

Why is student voice in a leadership capacity important?

Description

The practicum school we are at has a Spirit Committee, where students take action to create a positive school environment and help raise money to create positive changes in third-world countries. The school is working with Free the Children and Me to We and is continually creating and hosting fundraisers to help raise money towards building a school in Ecuador. The idea for our project and inquiry question came from a day the school calls “Flex Friday,” which is a day of learning via alternative methods. One goal of Flex Friday is to engage students in their interests so that they are learning without even realizing they are learning. It was on this day that student voice and opinions became very prominent.

Method

What we and the students did:

  • Attended leadership conferences
  • Created fundraisers for the school, local and global communities and put them in ACTION
  • Spread positive messages and appreciation for hard work throughout the school
  • Encouraged student voice and sharing within the classroom

External sources we consulted include:

  • Peer-edited journals
  • Leadership conference speakers

Steps Taken Include:

  • Meeting with other staff involved
  • Meeting with students
  • Creating a plan
  • Executing the plan
  • Documenting the execution via film/ video.
  • Reflecting with the students

Setbacks /Surprises

Surprises:

  • How quickly the students come up with ideas
  • Student initiative and desire to create positive changes in the world (student voice without prompts from teachers)
  • Start-to-finish was faster than we anticipated it would be

Setbacks:

  • Over-ambitious plans for creating positive change

Results

This project impacted the students in a positive way. Many students wanted to participate and take charge in the creative process of deciding what kind of things to do in order to create a positive school environment and also to fundraise. These fundraisers were successful throughout the school because everybody had a chance to participate on some level during the fundraisers or kindness-spreading activities.

The spread of leadership and student voice became apparent within individual classrooms as students approached teachers with ideas for new fundraisers or stories of how they helped contribute positively to the community. Student voice became a daily part of teaching and brought about good behaviour. Students became confident in their work and themselves as their voice and opportunities to share pushed them to pursue hard work to achieve success that they were proud of. The sharing of student voice helped contribute to a positive learning environment because it helped to build rapport with the teachers and students and amongst the school community.

What we left behind was a sense of community in the school. The students may not remember what we did or how we contributed to the school, however they will remember how they felt. As for a tangible item left behind from this project, we have left videos about the school that will be used on the school’s website and a student-created book of different fundraisers and ways to create positive change.

Future implications include a plan for more web conferences between schools revolving around the topic of creating a positive and bully-free school environment. There have also been discussions about creating a Spirit Option class in the school where there can be a dedicated and responsible student body with a properly allotted time frame for the planning and action to take place.

Megan is a PSIII student with a major in English. Her 1st degree is from Mount Royal University and it is a BA in English with a minor in Film Studies. She has a profound love of education as it allows her to use her creativity and inspire it in students. She not only likes the increased confidence she sees as students develop and appreciate their ability to learn, but also genuinely enjoys getting to know the people around her. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her long-hair Chihuahua named Foxy Lady. She likes to read books and binge-watch television series and movies in her spare time. Megan completed her project with Dominique Borrelli.

http://mkrzy326.wix.com/missk

http://dominiquefborrelli.wix.com/portfolio