Resources to Amplify Student Voices
There are many supports and interventions that can be used to address student concerns. But these are typically not developed in partnership with students. Rather adult researchers develop these interventions, and determine their importance and utilize based on their own perspectives. Students are rarely consulted on what they think or how to address a given problem.
When considering issues of equity and social justice, it is important to involve those who are most impacted by an issue (Sabnis & Proctor, 2022). In the case of K12 education, that is typically students. Therefore it is imperative from a social justice perspective to attend to student voices. Student voices need to be a crucial part of school psychology research and scholarship and practice, rather than an afterthought. Including student voices not only aids toward equitable sharing of power in educational decision-making but also improves students' sense of self-determination and school motivation (Pounds & Cuevas, 2019), school engagement (Connor et al., 2022), sense of belonging (Mitra, 2004), and enhances overall school climate (Voight, 2015; Yonezawa & Jones, 2009).
Our goal is to provide school psychologists with the resources to center student voices. School-based practitioners should be able to use these resources to actively embed student voices in the work they do. Below we provide:
- A resource to help students actively participate in their IEP meetings
- Resources for school psychologists to conduct youth-based participatory action research (Y-PAR) in their schools
- YouTube videos highlighting student voices
- Additional readings
This resource will assist school psychologists in increasing student participation in IEP meetings.
This page provides a brief overview of YPAR and provides external resources for school psychologists who wish to conduct action projects in collaboration with their students.
Watching videos that amplify student voices can be an excellent tool to help learn about how students view schooling. School psychologists can review this selection of videos to get a better understanding of various school-related issues from the perspectives of students.
School psychologists who wish to further increase their understanding of schooling from the perspective of children and youth can use the following examples for further reading:
- Giraldo-Garcia, R. J., Voight, A., & O'Malley, M. (2021). Mandatory voice: Implementation of a district‐led student‐voice program in urban high schools. Psychology in the Schools, 58, 51-68. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22436
- McGahee, M., Mason, C., Wallace, T., & Jones, B. (2001). Student-led IEPs: A guide for student involvement. Council for Exceptional Children.
- Mason, C. Y., McGahee-Kovac, M., & Johnson, L. (2004). How to help students lead their IEP meetings. Teaching Exceptional Children, 36(3), 18-25. https://doi.org/10.1177/004005990403600302
- Schultz, B. D., Ayers, W., & Quinn, T. (2008). Spectacular things happen along the way: Lessons from an urban classroom. Teachers College Press.
- Shalaby, C. (2017). Troublemakers: Lessons in freedom from young children at school. The New Press.
- Solórzano DG, & Delgado Bernal D. (2001). Examining transformational resistance through a critical race and LatCrit Theory framework: Chicana and Chicano students in an urban context. Urban Education, 36, 308-342. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085901363002
Contributors: Sujay V. Sabnis, Natalie Larez, Tiombe Bisa Kendrick-Dunn, Yari Diaz
Cammarota, J., & Fine, M. (2008). Youth participatory action research: A pedagogy for transformational resistance. In J. Cammarota & M. Fine (Eds.), Revolutionizing education: Youth participatory action research (pp. 1-12). Routledge.
Connor, J., Posner, M., & Nsowaa, B. (2022). The relationship between student voice and student engagement in urban high schools. The Urban review, 54, 755-774. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-022-00637-2
Konrad, M., Fowler, C. H., Walker, A. R., Test, D. W., & Wood, W. M. (2016). Effects of self-determination interventions on the academic skills of students with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 30(2), 89-113. https://doi.org/10.2307/30035545
Mason, C. Y., McGahee-Kovac, M., & Johnson, L. (2004). How to help students lead their IEP meetings. Teaching Exceptional Children, 36(3), 18-25.
McGahee, M., Mason, C., Wallace, T., & Jones, B. (2001). Student-led IEPs: A guide for student involvement. Council for Exceptional Children.
Mitra, D. L. (2004). The significance of students: Can increasing "student voice" in schools lead to gains in youth development? Teachers College Record, 106, 651-688.
Nolan-Spohn, H. (2016). Increasing student involvement in IEPs. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 28(3), 300-308.
Pounds, L., & Cuevas, J. (2019). Student involvement in IEPs. Georgia Educational Researcher, 16(1) , Article 4. https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/gerjournal/vol16/iss1/4
Sabnis, S. & Proctor, S. (2022). Use of critical theory to develop a conceptual framework for critical school psychology, School Psychology Review, 51(6), 661-675. https://doi.org/10.1080/2372966X.2021.1949248
Voight, A. (2015). Student voice for school‐climate improvement: A case study of an urban middle school. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 25(4), 310-326. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2216
Yonezawa, S., & Jones, M. (2009). Student voices: Generating reform from the inside out. Theory into Practice, 48(3), 205-212. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405840902997386