Student Voice is very much part of our culture here in St. Dominic’s and to embed that further this academic year we have set up a Student Voice Forum on Learning.
The Forum is made up of thirty-two students, randomly selected from all year groups. The SVF is a space where students come together to discuss and share ideas and opinions regarding their learning experiences. This invaluable student feedback is then shared with teachers with a view to improving the quality of Teaching and Learning here in St. Dominic’s. The Forum aims to empower students to participate meaningfully and collaboratively in improving their experience of school and to take ownership of their own learning. Students are encouraged to actively get involved in their learning and to take responsibility.
In line with our School Self-Evaluation Targets (SSE) we have focused on two items to date:
Our change to one-hour classes
In autumn 2021 we moved to hour long classes. The process is a learning curve for both teachers and students and we are all adjusting to the new timetable.
Feedback via the SVF has so far shown that students are in favour of one hour classes. Several reasons were given.
- It has helped with organisation due to fewer classes per day.
- The pace is not as frantic.
- The hour allows for more active participation in class and students are enjoying this.
In addition students reported that the amount of homework has increased as students in some subjects have less contact time with teachers. As a result, students have to give more consideration to homework, especially learning homework, in order to keep it fresh in the memory. Students are reminded that consistent revision is key and as always they are encouraged to avail of after school study.
Teachers also recently completed a survey in relation to one hour classes and to date the majority are also in favour of this timetable change.
Covid 19 has led to the increased use of on-line learning tools and digital learning platforms are now a necessary resource in education. Via the SVF students shared their experience of on-line learning when schools were closed:
- Everyone agreed that it was hard to get motivated and stay on top of work.
- Having to share screens at home was also a challenge.
- The preferred learning tool for students was pre-recorded classes along with at least one weekly live Zoom class.
Students are happy that teachers are continuing to use on-line learning platforms e.g Google Classroom. Conversation developed around the importance of the Student-Teacher connection. Students agreed that the teacher played a huge role in how they actually felt about a subject. The meeting concluded with input from students regarding different learning styles. It was agreed that every student has a different learning journey and a different learning style, and all are to be embraced.
Using the feedback
The minutes of the SVF meetings are shared with teachers at staff meetings and teachers continue to consider strategies for more efficient delivery of lessons.
Our next SVF is taking place 10th January. The next item on the agenda is Wellbeing.