Learning From & With Students

Student-led clubs are amazing! My question with trying to give space for students to truly lead has always been, how do we start? From there I start to ask: How do we determine what might be of interest? Who is the club truly for? How do we gage its level of success? The list really could go on as I sit and think it through. What sometimes happens is a club that is so “scaffolded” that it really isn’t student-led.

As you may already know, I am new to my school community this year. With that in mind, I’ve been making efforts to understand more about the lives and experiences of those within.  In this work, I’m really trying to ensure that students see themselves represented in what we do in school. After speaking with my principal, we thought of creating a space or club related to culture, where students were the ones organizing some of our school events and celebrations. Unsure of who might be interested or if it would truly be of value to our community, I wrote out an announcement inviting students to attend a brief meeting to chat and I was blown away by the response.  Overwhelmingly, students were interested in having their voices heard and leading the way in helping our school in being a more inclusive place. 

Now I know that we have to go beyond cuisine, celebrations and clothing when really digging in and understanding diversity and I hope that this group is a place where those real conversations can start. We recently voted on a name for our group – the Diversity Club – and we’re hard at work planning out a winter celebration for families. The idea being that we plan an evening where families can come into the school, learn about diverse cultures through hands-on activities and conversations with each other. Students have chosen 5 celebrations that are happening over the next month and will lead activities that evening so that families understand these days of significance in a deeper way. 

We’ve only just begun and it’s really great to see how enthusiastic students are in wanting to share who they are with others. I love how once given space and time, students feel a sense of freedom and ownership and are going well beyond what I could have imagined. Our Slone Celebrations Night is a couple of weeks away and I’m so excited to continue to facilitate this club as students continue to put their mark on our school and make it truly the hub of the community that it should be.

Updated: November 29, 2019 — 1:13 pm

The Author

Arianna Lambert

I'm a Grade 5 Teacher in the Toronto District School Board who loves integrating technology and mindfulness in the classroom. Through inquiry and design, I work with students who are engaged in meaningful learning opportunities; developing core competencies, while creating ways to make the world an even better place. I am the recipient of a TDSB Excellence Award for the co-creation of #tdsbEd, Twitter chats for educators. Through conversations on trends in Education from STEAM to Mindfulness, it has become an online community of educators dedicated to improving their practice to ensure greater student success, well-being and achievement.

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