• #WEWILLEXCEL:  How Teachers Use Student Voice to Enhance Learning?

     

  • Della Taylor~8th Grade ELA and Grils Basketball Coach

    Morningside Middle School

    Title #WEWILLEXCEL:  How Teachers Use Student Voice to Enhance Learning?

    What is your name, and why are you a teacher?

    My name is Della Taylor. I became a teacher because education has been an intricate piece in my upbringing. Both of my parents have modeled this work ethic in my life. Most importantly, this allowed me to pour into others, mainly children. Being a teacher was determined for me as a freshman in high school. I needed to be fed what I needed as a student. In hindsight, some of my high school teachers that made little impact made the most significant difference in how I managed and educate my current students for almost 12 years. 

    What makes teaching at Morningside Middle School extraordinary to you?

    With the odds counted against our students, our school is a family. When I came on board, I was focused.

    Why is student voice important in education?

    Students' voice is important because it gives them ownership. To maintain students' voices, students must feel comfortable and supported in the learning process. This leads them to want to advocate for themselves to improve their futures.

    How do you access and elevate student voices in the ELA curriculum? 

    Through our Expeditionary Learning (EL) curriculum, students are given access to sustain their voice in their education because of the representation that it provides. Not only does this curriculum provide academic growth, but it also offers social-emotional growth that helps foster positive impacts in the lives of students outside of the walls of the school.

    How do you enhance student voice, and what activities/protocols do you use?

    The key word in the phrase "student's voice" is voice. By providing my students the opportunities to talk and have productive conversations with simple turns and talks, jigsaws, or gallery walks, they can connect with the tasks given and apply them to real-world issues or personal experiences.

    How would you want your students to remember you? 

    I want students to remember me as a piece of cloth sewn into their journeys. I want them always to know that I had their best interest at heart and not only affirmed this daily but had actionable experiences for them to always remember. I have a strong foundation that students may not remember what you taught them, but they will remember how they were treated.

    What is your why? 

    My "Why" is focused on leaving any situation better than I found it. This is reflective of how important it is to build relationships and influence well in the lives that I encounter daily.

    If you could give educators one piece of advice, what would it be? 

    Based on the pressures of the education system now, teachers need to give themselves permission to make mistakes which is also a segue to giving themselves grace.

    How have you grown as a teacher using a high-quality curriculum?

    A high-quality curriculum has allowed me to see the actual value of student-centered engagement. Furthermore, has allowed me to build relationships with students that push toward molding the “whole student” in every aspect. Being able to remove my preferences and enable students to thrive through their level of understanding has shown significant growth in my own practices and their capabilities that reflect my outpouring of nurture and love for what I do.