5 Ways To Empower Student Voice In The Classroom Blog

5 Ways to empower student voice in the classroom

In today’s dynamic educational landscape, the role of empowering student voice in the classroom is more critical than ever. Empowering students in the classroom goes beyond traditional teaching methods; it is about creating an environment where their perspectives, ideas, and opinions are not only heard but actively valued. This approach has far-reaching benefits, ranging from enhancing student engagement to promoting the development of essential life skills. Let’s explore how to empower student voice in the classroom, its advantages, and a valuable teaching tool to help you along the way.

What are the benefits of empowering student voice?

  • Enhance student engagement: Empowering student voice in the classroom boosts engagement, fostering active participation and enthusiasm.
  • Increase student agency: Providing a platform for student voice promotes a sense of agency, encouraging students to take ownership of their learning experience.
  • Develop essential life skills: Active student involvement in decision-making processes cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential for academic and real-world challenges.
  • Foster a positive learning experience: Empowering students in decision-making processes contributes to a positive school culture, creating a supportive and collaborative learning experience.
  • Promotion of student-led initiatives: Encouraging student leadership in extracurricular activities and student councils empowers them to influence and lead beyond the classroom.
  • Active participation in student learning: Empowered students actively participate in their learning experiences, contribute ideas, ask questions, and engage in meaningful discussions.
  • Encouragement of innovative ideas: Fostering the sharing of innovative ideas brings fresh perspectives and creative solutions to the classroom.

Student voice tool: Flocabulary

When you find a tool that supports student voice and choice, you know you have found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Flocabulary is one of those tools! Flocabulary has video-based lessons with educational activities for all grades using academic hip-hop music to engage students and increase achievement across the curriculum. We will dive into a few of my favorite ways to leverage Flocabulary to encourage and support student voice such as Lyric Lab, life skills lessons, and Flocabulary’s student contests. Let’s get started!

New to Flocabulary? Teachers can sign up for a trial to access our lesson videos and assessment activities. Administrators can get in touch with us to learn more about unlocking the full power of Flocabulary through Flocabulary Plus.

5 Ways to empower student voice in the classroom

1. Assign a Lyric Lab activity

Lyric Lab is one of my absolute favorite tools to support student engagement and voice! It is a space where students or even adults can write academic rhymes that align with the content being taught or shared in class. Flocabulary’s videos engage, the instructional tools help students with mastering content, and Lyric Lab gives them a safe space to be creative and express their student voice while also continuing to learn more about the rich vocabulary that Flocabulary is so well-known for.

Take a look at how it works:

2. Affirm to students that they belong

It is vital to emphasize that every student belongs not only in our classrooms but in all spaces. When selecting tech tools or content, it’s crucial to assess whether they contribute to students’ sense of belonging. Flocabulary, beyond covering academic subjects like math and science, also delves into crucial human issues such as such as social emotional learning, racial and social justice, and health and wellness. Explore the Life Skills section for a deeper understanding as you browse through the lessons.

3. Get featured in the Week in Rap

With Flocabulary’s Week in Rap, students are able to engage and relate to weekly current events that spark meaningful conversations and offer a wider view of their world. Each video also includes school shout-outs, where students get to be featured in the video that week. If you watched the Week in Rap, have you ever wondered how students and their schools get shout-outs? Students create a rap or poem that highlights their take on the story of the week and how it relates to themselves, their community, and the world. Each Thursday evening, Flocabulary will alert the lucky school and they will have about one week to submit a video or a photo that will be featured in Week in Rap (Grades 6-12) or Week in Rap Junior (Grades 3-5). Are you ready for that shout-out? Click below to have your students enter!

4. Prioritize vocabulary practice

Vocabulary instruction serves as a way for teachers to empower student voices by equipping them with the tools necessary for effective communication. Proficient vocabulary allows students to articulate their thoughts and ideas with clarity and precision, building confidence in their expressions. It also enhances written and verbal communication skills while encouraging participation in classroom discussions so they can share their perspectives and engage with academic content more meaningfully.

While Flocabulary’s videos engage and amp up the excitement for different content areas and topics, the Vocab Cards within the lesson sequence give students the opportunity to build upon their knowledge of the vocabulary taught through writing and drawing. This is another way that Flocabulary supports student voice and choice! Each lesson includes Vocb Cards, which contain the word and definition(s), as well as the part of speech and an example of it used in a sentence. They can even have the word and definition(s) read to them. They can take it even further by writing with the word and illustrating it. Talk about engagement!

5. Student research and rap-writing contests

When the time comes, I encourage you to check out Flocabulary’s Student Contests. The winning students have their lyrics turned into a Flocabulary lesson and get to be involved in the lesson creation process! During the month of February, students can participate in the Black History Month Rap Contest. Students are encouraged to research and develop a poem or rap that celebrates under-recognized Black historical figures. Another contest that students can participate in is the Hispanic Heritage Month Rap Contest. From about the middle of September to the middle of October, students are once again encouraged to research and write about an event, person, tradition, or identity tied to Hispanic heritage and culture. Each of these events inspires and connects students to the world around them as well as their individual identities and interests.

Take a look at past winning entries that were made into Flocabulary lessons to inspire students:

  1. Black History Month Contest 2018: John Lewis & Nonviolent Action
  2. Hispanic Heritage Month Contest 2020: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and José Hernández
  3. Black History Month Contest 2021: Emmett Till and Fannie Lou Hamer
  4. Hispanic Heritage Month Contest 2021: Luis Alvarez and Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead
  5. Black History Month Contest 2022: August Wilson and Louis Armstrong
  6. Hispanic Heritage Month Contest 2022: Rigoberta Menchú Tum and The Mexican Revolution
  7. Black History Month Contest 2023: Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass

Start using Flocabulary to amplify student voice

Incorporating student interest into the learning process is crucial for creating a school community that values student-centered learning and empowers students. It’s important to create opportunities that personalizes their learning experience and encourages students to take ownership of their learning, fostering student agency and ensuring that every school student feels like a true student representative.

Flocabulary’s content is engaging, relevant, meaningful, and timely. It can give a voice to those who need it and a space for many to express themselves freely. It is so much more than engaging videos.

New to Flocabulary? Teachers can sign up for a trial to access our lesson videos and assessment activities. Administrators can get in touch with us to learn more about unlocking the full power of Flocabulary through Flocabulary Plus.

Amy Storer

Amy is a Lead Learning Guide at friEdTechnology, Google Certified Educator, Microsoft Certified Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer, and a Microsoft Global Mentor. She is a distinguished educator that encourages and motivates others to reach far beyond the classroom walls to make learning more meaningful and inspiring. She has a true passion for purposeful technology integrations, meaningful PD, and global connections.