Close friends and long time readers of this blog will know that Student Voice and Student Leadership is a passion of mine.
Most schools have some form of student body; be it a student representative council, student leadership council, a junior school council, a student congress, student voice – the names for these organizations are varied, but ultimately, there is a group that represents student within the school.
But… Why is such a having a student council important ? And what sort of things should we be working on ? I mean, we raise money and stuff, but how can we move to that next level ?
By having a student council within your school, you can draw upon their knowledge which will ultimately lead to better decision making.
At a global level, this is recognised through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, with Article 12 stating that a child should be given an opportunity to express their viewpoint. That age should not be a barrier in their participation in matters they have a degree of understanding and comprehension over.
But more locally….. Often there are things that students know about the school that teachers and parents just are unaware of. By involving all stakeholders, it ensures that all viewpoints are heard and in turn leads to more informed decision making.
By involving students in how decisions are made, it provides them an understanding and point of reference when wanting to be active citizens beyond the school context. Research also suggests that schools who involve students in decision making, will in turn, have improvements in student learning.
By having a student council, you will improve relationships and connections between staff, students and the broader community
For me though, the reasons behind having a student council are somewhat more personal. I have been involved in student leadership since I was in Grade 5 in 1993. I continued to be involved in student council throughout my time and secondary school and once commencing my teaching career, I quickly took on the role of SRC Teacher Advisor.
Had it not have been for some great teachers who saw student councils as something important; who gave their time freely to support what we were doing; who coached, mentored and guided me through the process, I would not be the person I am today.
It is my hope that I can provide the same opportunities for my students. That I can pay forward the experiences and the lessons I have learned.
The road to a Victorian Junior School Council
It is with this in mind that one project I would love to establish would be a state wide Junior School Council for primary school students.
Within my role with the Victorian Institute of SRC Teacher Advisers Inc. I volunteer as a supporter with the Victorian Student Representative Council. I am excited that they are considering a primary school networking event in 2015 to explore the appetite from schools and the possibility of such an organisation existing.
A colleague and friend of mine recently said that “too often in life we place our own obstacles in the way of our dreams, be it excuses, time, etc…I say to you, no more! Take that great idea, challenge, relationship, learning that you should do and “just do it”. The world needs dreamers and doers and the best is the combination of both.”
I look forward to being part of the team that turns this dream of mine into a reality. I hope to share the journey of this exciting adventure with you through my blog.
This post is the second in a series as part of the #youredustory challenge. For more information visit their website.