“My Voice Matters”: Promoting Student Voice & Civic Engagement through Content and Pedagogy

“I belong and my voice matters.” This is a mindset we as educators hope all of our students experience, and our classrooms need to support this. While ‘student voice’ is often seen in the purview of civics classes and education, the importance of this transcends grade level or subject area. As civics education is importantly being recognized as a necessary tool to strengthen our democracy, especially in these divisive times, many educators and schools see the need to promote a civics mindset beyond the required middle and high school courses. This interactive session will explore ways to promote a student’s sense of agency, through both content and teaching practices, with attentiveness to the intersecting aspects of SEL, equity, and civic agency (often approached in siloed, disparate ways). We will consider the role of identity, lived experience, and self-reflection, on the part of the student and the teacher, in fostering inclusive, engaging spaces that bolster students’ sense of voice, in the classroom and beyond.