Alison Cook-Sather, Education, “Amplifying Student Voices in Higher Education: Democratizing Teaching and Learning Through Changing the Acoustic on a College Campus (La Amplificación de las Voces del Alumnado en la Educación Superior: Democratización de la Enseñanza y el Aprendizaje”

Posted September 12th, 2012 at 2:01 pm.

in Revista de Educación, September-December, 2012:

This article describes three programs that work to democratize teaching and learning in higher education through amplifying student voices. The first program partners undergraduate students with college faculty to explore, affirm, and revise the pedagogical approaches the faculty members employ in their classrooms. The second program pairs undergraduate students and college staff members from the service/craft sector in reciprocal teaching and learning partnerships through which they explore topics and areas of mutual interest. The third program brings undergraduate students, faculty, and staff together to explore social justice issues and to build capacity for communicating across differences. Based at a selective liberal arts college in the northeastern United States, all three programs create new spaces within which undergraduate students lead, teach, and learn from other members of the higher education community. In these structured and su pported spaces outside of the formal classroom arena and typical relationships among members of the academic community, students learn to speak with and learn from one another as well as from differently positioned members of the community. As students test and tune their own voices –a process that moves them from silence or uncertainty into a place of greater confidence, capacity, and resonance– they develop a commitment to ensuring that others, both those with less power and those with more, listen and are listened to in new ways. Thus, through these programs, the voices of faculty and staff are brought into dialogue with, and modulated in relation to, student voices. This article describes the programs and analyzes how they support students in developing the confidence, courage, and capacity to amplify their own voices and to ensure that other voices are heard and honored.

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