This is discussion about The PROGRESS Programme: Involving everyone in shaping a listening culture.
Your intent to create a LISTENING CULTURE is a paradigm shifter, and one that deserves highest honors. I, too, am working to increase awareness about this essential element of human development, starting at the earliest ages. When kids regularly experience listening to and being heard by each other, walls of isolation and separation cannot take hold. The consequences of ongoing revelations of shared values about what we all, deep down, care about can only fortify a sense of connectedness and community. I sincerely wish you greatest success.
Nini, thank-you so much. You are so right. The pressure put on schools from pressurised policymakers makes it hard from them to listen to children and young people. If only they could, so much good would flow - new levels of achievement for our children; stronger communities for us all. Here at HSE, we think the tools we have developed and are developing can help to turn things in a different direction. However, the obstacles are enormous.
This is an incredibly important proposal. We know nowadays that real learning is fostered within an environment which is simultaneously high in challenge and low in stress and fear. This project also puts into the practical action the statements about 'pupil voice' which often seem so worthy yet abstract.
Geoff, thanks for picking up the two things that are most important about the PROGRESS Programme: enabling students (and staff) to give voice to their experience so that - both because they feel heard and because what they say is responded to - they can experience challenge without being overwhelmed by stress. What we have to communicate is how closely linked these two dimensions of PROGRESS are, and how their impact comes from the experience of the individual taking part and the way they are able to feed in to the strategies being implemented in their school.
I walk to school and I run into a lot of my students. Sadly, I can tell some are hurting inside. I wonder about their stories and if they receive help at school rather than just being taught.
Students have changed in the last twenty years than schools have. As a result, the school experience can be very alien to pupils when compared to the way they are treated outside of school. Many can become disheartened and disengaged by the feeling that they are not listen to, and that education is something that “ is done” to them rather than something that they have control over with a say in what and how to learn. Such a sense of powerlessness can quickly lead to disaffection. If students feel that their opinions matter in school that they are regularly consulted on the best way to learn and act, and then they quickly become engaged again in the whole learning process. Schools will find that the views of pupils can make an invaluable contribution to shaping classroom management, teaching and learning, and the school ethos for the better.
Schools have improved, but some issues remain. Programs are being implemented to solve the problems, but what about the students’ opinions? After all, we know what it is like in school, what is and is not working. Rather than just hearing us out, why cannot actions include our opinions?
I have been in the shoes of these students, wondering and asking myself questions daily. I wondered why some students would constantly get in trouble and why there wasn’t much done to help them stay in school and improve. I see so much talent in my students. Some students are unable to know their talents in school because nobody has got the time to communicate with them. Our focus is to ensure that schools provide a supportive environment and reach out to help students stay on target to graduate. Whether it is listening to the issues happening at home, hearing the reasons that lead students to fight, or helping student’s think of better ways to solve conflicts, the youth voice is worth listening to. We are the most affected by these issues, and The PROGRESS Programme has built a voice with several great ideas to find solutions. Congratulations !