Giving students more of a say in what they learn

The Problem:

Bruce and his team developed their project, which they call Connect Enrichment Activities, in order to provide more opportunities for their kids to engage with school the way they want to. Connect Enrichment Activities has students identify the activities they want to be available in the Connect Pastoral Care program through direct consultation. Staff elect activities to get involved in as participant and engage and recruit mentors from outside, and share the output with the community.

Bruce’s Solution

  1. Put the question  “If you could do anything for one to two hours a week at school, what would it be?” up throughout the school to generate a buzz among the kids.
  2. Get the students together in a group and ask them the question.
  3. Give the students one minute to talk to chat among themselves and get some energy up. 
  4. Have piles of post-it notes, pens and wall space and have students write down all of their ideas and put them on the wall somewhere.
  5. Gather up all of the ideas and share them with staff and students – generate discussion about all of the options and have everyone list the top 5 they’d like to do in their diaries, or more practically, their phones. 
  6. Use an online system to collect preferences from everyone, then group them together in their activity groups and have them discuss what the activity might look like. Teachers and students share and then identify potential mentors from outside the school to recruit as well.
  7. Do it! On a term by term basis in the scheduled period in the week, run the activities. 
  8. Remember that teachers and students are equal – no one is in charge. 
  9. Share and showcase the output regularly through assemblies, subject-free collaborative learning time and online and physical artefacts. Keep a VLOG updated with CEA content. 
  10. At the end of each term, talk to the group and collect up ideas for new activities or improvements – add these to the options, rinse and repeat.

Want to Copy the Idea?

If you want to copy CEA, Great! Do it, make it better, and let Bruce know what your idea looks like so he can incorporate that into his idea too. Shoot an email to if you want to get in touch with Bruce and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer him on in the comments below as well.

Categories: Student Voice, Wellbeing

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