It is important that within the context of school that students know that they have a voice. To know that they will be heard and people will listen. It is also important that they realise that in having a voice there are protocols which need to be adhered to in order for their voice to resonate.
There are times when a conflict may arise in the playground that requires adult intervention, or a student finds something they feel compromises student safety. I have students come to my office to share their ideas, opinions and perspectives on a range of topics that are important to them and this goes way beyond asking me to help resolve a problem. They are aware that there are effective ways to communicate starting with being polite, respectful, and sensible – basic protocols.
There are instances where they come to share initiatives that require a decision from me and at these times I am reminded of a comment made by Monte Selby, an American educator and musician I heard speak at a conference……”When kids come to your door with a proposal, an idea, or an event that they want to organise don’t just say no. Ask them ……”What do you need to do to make me say yes?” Wise words when giving students a voice that can ultimately translate into positive action.
At the moment I have two groups considering what they need to do to make me say yes. One group is keen to play rugby with slightly more physical contact and the other group are aiming to reinvigorate the Matahui Pet Day. In both instances I believe they know that they have been heard, that I have listened and am prepared to support them in making their ideas a reality. But, they are also aware that they need to demonstrate considerable responsibility to ensure their voice translates into action, by finding out what they need to do to make me say yes.
So next time your children come to you with a proposal, an idea or event they want to organise or see happen, ask them ….”What do you need to do to make me say yes?”