Ed Tip: Student Voice and Choice

Empower and motivate students by giving them voice and choice throughout the learning process.

Grades K-12 1 min Resource by:
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Empowering students with “choice” means that students have some say in the who, what, why, when, where, or how of the learning process. When we give students “voice,” we are allowing them to express their learning preferences as well as insights about themselves, their opinions, their perspectives, and their identities. This allows students to see themselves as an important part of the learning process. It transforms learning from something that is “done to them” to something that is “done with them.” This is a pivotal shift that can empower and motivate students throughout the learning process.


Whenever possible, give your students voice and choice throughout the learning process. You can use this list to help you get started:


Questions to Ask

Groups Who will I work with?
Audience Who is my audience?
Topic or Content What is my project about?
Message What is my message?
Format What medium will I use, and what will my final product look like?
Product What will I create, and how will I create it?
Materials and Resources What will I use to create my project, and where will I get these resources?
Logistics Where, when, and with whom will I work on my project?
Timeline When will I complete each step of the creation process?
Purpose Why is my project important, and why do I care about it?
Impact How will my project impact others?
Strategies How will I learn, discover, create, and communicate?
Project Management How will I manage people, time, and materials?
Communication How will I share my message and product with my audience?
Feedback How will I get feedback about my work during the process?
Assessment How will my project be assessed, and what are the key criteria for success?

Integration Ideas

Voice and choice can be integrated into nearly any learning activity and any part of the learning process. As you begin your planning, assess how much voice and choice makes sense for the current learning situation. Start by identifying the core requirements of the standard or lesson that you cannot change. In other words, what must students do? Then, ask yourself: Where do you have freedom to adapt the learning experience? These are often places that you can offer voice and choice. One of the most common places to begin offering choice is allowing students to decide how they want to demonstrate their learning. Many of the questions in the preceding list work well when providing this type of choice. If you want to amplify opportunities for student ownership and input even further, consider moving toward an inquiry- or project-based learning approach. Both strategies are very student-centered and student-driven.

How can I learn more?

Explore AVID Open Access for more free templates, tool tips, podcasts, and other great resources, including these articles and collections: