Student Voice Advocates hear from experts

Student Voice

​Dr Russell Quaglia and Dr Kristine Fox (kneeling centre) with BCE’s inaugural
Student Voice Advocates

​TWENTY first-time Student Voice Advocates met with international experts to learn more about how to grow student voice across our community of schools.

The two-day workshop, held at the O’Shea Centre, Wilston, was a great start to Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE)’s three-year partnership with the Quaglia Institute for School Voice and Aspiration, an independent, non-profit organization, dedicated to studying, promoting, and putting into practice the conditions that foster student aspirations in schools and learning communities around the world.

The partnership will be a significant driver for increasing staff capacity and sustainability to grow Student Voice across BCE so students are actively involved in shaping safe, inclusive and engaging learning communities.

Workshop facilitators Dr Russell Quaglia and Dr Kristine Fox, from the Quaglia Institute, discussed the key components of student voice and the evidence linking student voice to students’ self-worth, engagement and purpose - all correlating with increased academic motivation.  

The advocates also heard about the history of student voice and how to use voice to tap into student aspirations.

They were given real life examples of how student voice enhanced student experiences of education across the US and England.

They also learnt about the importance of growing a culture of voice and participation at all levels to bring together students, staff and BCE leaders to create positive change.

Dr Quaglia said BCE was already doing some great work with Student Voice.

He said the workshop was an opportunity to learn how to capture that and have it grow organically throughout the entire BCE system.

“The challenge is how this group of 20 takes what is already happening in BCE to the next level,” he said.

“How do they share their experiences and get more people excited about this initiative and help improve the teaching and learning environment through giving students a voice.

First time Student Voice Advocate Kevin Billion, Principal at St Mary’s School, Beaudesert, said the workshop was an invaluable opportunity to meet fellow advocates, share ideas and hear from the experts in the field.

He said all students deserved to have a voice and to know their voice was being heard so they can grow up to be inspirational, hope filled citizens of the future.”

“Children are at the heart of everything we do, so we do need to hear what their thoughts are so we can help them learn better,” he said.

Student Voice project manager, Carolyn De Witt-Ryall, said it was great to get the advocates together for two solid days to share practical ideas on how to activate student voice.

Carolyn said the presenters shared with advocates a working definition of student voice and lots of practical ideas.

“The workshop was practical, interactive and realistic.

“It definitely helped activate participant’s own voices and ideas about how they can amplify student voice in their context” she said.

Carolyn said it was exciting to see these first time advocates really engaged and full of energy and excited to get back to their schools and their clusters to make it all happen.

She said she looked forward to all the fantastic ideas that will come from the different schools and clusters.

“We can’t wait to showcase these ideas so other schools can see, get excited and jump on board​ and experience the transformational power of student voice,” she said.

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