Every month we publish two articles on “Shady Oak Best Practices,” our favorite approaches to education and why they work. If friends ask why you send your kids to Shady Oak instead of a “regular” school, refer them to this series—and the science backing us up—for starters.
Allowing students to ask questions—and even question the teacher—is a vital part of effective education. It’s even better when the concept is taken to its highest level, providing students with regular opportunities to contribute input toward the administration of the larger class—or the whole school.
Opening the door for students to express opinions and even vote on school policies is simply a way of introducing them to greater responsibility
If providing for “student voice” on that level brings on nightmare visions of a school run by the students, where homework is banned and kids are free to run through the halls and cut class at will—relax. Opening the door for students to express opinions and even vote on school policies is simply a way of introducing them to greater responsibility and helping them feel respected, which ultimately improves both their cooperation and their learning abilities.
At Shady Oak, we emphasize student voting because it gives children a chance to learn responsibility and to be a real help in effectively running the school.