Why is student voice important?
Student safety and wellbeing are improved when students feel connected to their school and have positive relationships with their peers and teachers.
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Research shows that the benefits for students do not come from just hearing their own voices. It is more about how other people (students, teachers, schools) respond to their voices and work with them to make ideas come to life.
When students believe they are respected and their views are valued, they:
- feel like they belong
- feel physically and emotionally safe
- experience a positive classroom environment
- experience supportive and trusting relationships.
Student-involved, student-led and student-initiated bullying prevention efforts are important because:
- children and young people are often the most knowledgeable about and the most motivated to help solve the problem
- bystanders can often serve as first responders, intervening to stop bullying and getting help
- students usually know a lot more about cyberbullying than most adults
- messages delivered by students are often better received and more successful at changing behaviour than messages created and delivered by adults
- partnering with adults to develop bullying prevention initiatives helps students feel more respected by and more connected to adults
- student involvement leads to feelings of empowerment – children and young people become committed to standing up to bullying and supporting their peers
- bullying is often hidden from adults, with school staff often only hearing or seeing a small percentage of what is really happening.