Student Choice and Student Voice

CHOICE - "One premise underlying the use of student projects is that if we allow students to choose what to study, they will be more motivated to learn. A second premise is that students will learn more by doing projects than they will with traditional methods, such as classroom lectures."


  1. The author of the article, Bryan Goodwin, goes on to say that offering students choice is a really good way to teach and learn, however offering too much choice can be counterproductive.  He references one study, among others, where 6 essay choices were given to students verses another where 30 choices were offered, the former yielded more students handing in their assignment on time and with better written essays.    
  2. Here is a video of students being given a choice at my school. As a writing assignment, 4th graders were to choose an animal and write about its habitat. Hear their voices as they give feedback to their classmates on the beginning stages of their writing. 
  3. At James H. Beam Elementary School there was a call for "customized learning" and the teachers dove right in to the idea. Hear their voices as well as the students as to how they feel about teaching and learning now.
  4. Student Voice and Choice: At Their Own Pace
  5. There is a lot of talk about reform at the school, district, state and national level.Yet little of it comes from listening to what the students say and think. EmpowerED 2014 in Los Angeles provides a forum for students to express and share how they would change education.
  6. Listening to student's voices can help us as teachers and administrators to teach better and make students excited and engaged in the learning. Check out these 10 things students say will engage them in school. 
  7. And, if you "Teach like a Pirate" you may just get your students engaged in the learning process as well. "Don't just teach a lesson, give an experience", says Dave Burgess teacher and author of the book Teach Like a Pirate. 
  8. A key to student engagement is to take what we are working on and make it come alive as an experience that the students will remember. Burgess uses the example: " A lesson is when you teach your students that Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic. An experience is when you students all flip their desks over, sit inside them, and experience the flight." 
  9. Teachers on the "Teach Like a Pirate" hangout shared what they have done to get their students engaged. Ranging from dressing like people or characters in history, to making Mesopotamia with mud and sticks. Some teachers recommended reading what the students are reading, talk about pop culture, or Minecraft, point being - make them see you as a real human being. 

  10. Bottom line, we need to hook them!