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Student Voice


Student Voice

Students as Researchers Conference Toronto – February 2012

The Students as Researchers Conference is a response to students' suggestions about the importance of learning life skills like research and critical thinking. The conference provided new ways to gather student perspectives and incorporate students' views into school policy and directives.

On February 22nd and 23rd students from around the province participated in this pilot forum. 150 students and teachers came together in a two day workshop and learned how to conduct collaborative inquiry research. The research projects were rooted in students' questions and theories about what they thought might improve their education and their school communities.

This effort to involve students in research is not meant to exclude an adult presence. The goal is to combine the experiences and efforts of both adults and students for mutual benefit. The Students as Researchers Conference concept encourages:

  • young people to organize around issues of their choice,
  • youth and adults to come together in intergenerational partnerships.

By making students and adults equal partners in collaborative inquiry we can support active engagement of students in questions of interest to them. Students work alongside teachers, mobilising student knowledge. Students become “change agents” who affect school cultures and norms. Students and teachers develop a sense of shared responsibility for the quality and conditions of teaching and learning, both within particular classrooms and more generally within the school community.

Some of the student research projects this year included:

  • How to have more effective bullying or racial harassment policies? What are the barriers that Aboriginal youth face as they transition to our school?
  • Researching how to increase support for girls sports
  • What are ways to increase self-esteem in female youth?
  • How can we eliminate or lessen homophobia in our school?

Students will be posting about their research on the SpeakUp Ontario Facebook page. Like us and get the latest!