Learning From Students
Students are among the first to recognize that there is an enormous gap between their performance and potential. That is why we give students a voice in professional development, instruction and classroom management. But student voice is regularly ignored in school reform efforts despite its vast potential to inform and improve professional development. NUA believes that students are integral to effective professional development.
StudentVoicesNUA, a component of the The NUA Professional Development Model (based on the NUA Pedagogy of Confidence), shows tremendous potential to jumpstart the transformation of low performing urban secondary schools. It provides students with opportunities to co-create with teachers innovative curriculum-related projects using 21st century technology, to increase their involvement in professional development, to mediate literacy and learning strategies for parents, and to participate in leadership discussions and decision-making. An exciting part of StudentVoicesNUA™ is having students co-teach instructional units with their teachers.
StudentVoicesNUA may include: student-produced publications, radio shows and videos; lessons plans co-created and presented by students; debating and public speaking; electronic field trips; student-led convocations; and podcasts.
For instance, in our work with the Newark Public Schools, participating students reported that learning is fun and easy, and they earn better grades because their teachers use NUA learning strategies and have them use the strategies to complete their work. Students also report using NUA strategies at home and teaching their younger siblings how to use NUA strategies to complete their own homework.
Student work products developed by participating students demonstrate high intellectual content and cognitive processing. For example, students who participated in NUA training on content and pedagogy alongside their teachers created radio broadcasts, websites, and wikis. These students even authored three books (available on Amazon.com):
Take a look at StudentVoicesNUA in action in this May 23, 2011, CNN report, “When Students Become Teachers,” a look at one Connecticut school where students are doing the teaching: