Practice of Student Voice Education Reform

Student voice work is premised on the following convictions:
    Young people have unique perspectives on learning, teaching, and schooling;
    Their insights warrant not only the attention but also the responses of adults; and
    They should be afforded opportunities to actively shape their education.

Several typologies differentiate the practices that identify as student voice. One identifies multiple roles for students throughout the education system, including education planning, research, teaching, evaluating, decision-making and advocacy.

Administrative approaches
The presence and engagement of student voice has been seen as essential to the educational process since at least the time of John Dewey, if not long before. In 1916 Dewey wrote extensively about the necessity of engaging student experience and perspectives in the curriculum of schools, summarizing his support by saying,:

    The essence of the demand for freedom is the need of conditions which will enable an individual to make his own special contribution to a group interest, and to partake of its activities in such ways that social guidance shall be a matter of his own mental attitude, and not a mere authoritative dictation of his acts.

Today student voice is seeing a resurgence of importance as a growing body of literature increasingly identifies student voice as necessary throughout the educational process. Areas where advocates encourage actively acknowledging student voice include curriculum design and instructional methods, Educational leadership and general school reform activities, including research and evaluation.

Curricular approaches
Specific types of activities that can specifically engage student voice include teaching, education decision-making, school planning, participatory action research, learning and teaching evaluations, educational advocacy, and student advisories for principals and superintendents

Service learning
Engaging student voice is a primary objective of service learning, which commonly seeks to entwine classroom learning objectives with community service opportunities. Student voice is also present in student government programs, experiential education activities, and other forms of student-centered learning.
Further information: Service learning

Student as education decision-makers
Engaging students as educational decision-makers is the practice of actively teaching young people responsibility for their education by systematically engaging them in making choices about learning, schooling, and the education system in areas ranging from what affects them personally to what affects an entire student body to what affects the entire school system.

Choosing curricula, calendar year planning, school building design, teacher hiring, and many more issues are often seen as the duties of a school principal or teachers. Today those roles are increasingly seen as avenues for student voice. Students are joining boards of education at all levels, including local, district, and state boards. Some education agencies engage students as staff in programs where they make decisions about grant making, school assessment, and other areas. Students are also participating in decision-making by establishing and enforcing codes of conduct and in personal education decision-making, such as choosing classes and deciding whether to attend school.