Launch of the Student Voice Toolkit - Kanna Kodama

For as long as I can remember, there was a specific order of power in the education system. Students had to listen to the teachers, teachers had to listen to the Principal, and so on. There was no interchanging in this sequence. The Department of Child and Youth Affairs and the Department of Education seemed to be in a whole other galaxy of thier own. (Or that’s what I thought). That then posed the question, “Who listens to the students?” Learners’ Voice has broken down this barrier and has become the answer to this question.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been part of the Learners’ Voice from the very beginning. I’ve had the privilege of watching it grow from a small lunch time group, to a group that can address the Minister of Child and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone with great influential power. If someone had said to me that all this was possible at my very first Leaners’ Voice meeting, I wouldn’t have believed it. How glad I am that I was proven wrong.

The day that was had on the 4th of December was a historical one. 80 people, all with the common aim of promoting student voice gathered in one room. Newbridge College (Ms. O’Callaghan, Mr. Howard, Mr. O’Brien, Aoibhin Collins, Oscair Murphy, Finnian King and Kanna Kodama), along with two other schools got the opportunity to speak out about the changes that had come about and the positive effect that those changes had on the school since the introduction of Learners’ Voice.

Newbridge College spoke proudly about the new wellbeing curriculum that’s now in place for the junior years. Terence Mac Swiney Community College spoke about their reformed code of behavior. Kinsale Community School enlightened us about their new system of target grades and one to ones between teachers and students.

All these changes were built on the foundation of student opinions. By listening to the students’ thoughts and opinions, Newbridge College and the other schools were able to create a better learning environment that was pro-active, catering for every need. The most genuine and authentic information you can get about student needs are from the students themselves. Learners’ Voice strives to do exactly this, to insure accurate and effective changes are made, to benefit all.

It was an eye-opening experience. Not only did we get to speak up ourselves, our minds were also broadened by the ideas of others. This highlighted all the good that can be done when the voices of everyone are listened to and taken seriously. The whole day inspired me to be pro-active, stimulate a change and use my own voice. This launch was evidence that the Learners’ Voice is effective and should be adopted by schools across the country. It truly is revolutionary and is changing school life for many young people, including myself.

The launch of this new toolkit, assured students like myself, that our voices do matter. A student from Terence Mac Swiney Community College said, "Young people are only 20% of the population but 100% of the future." This statement made a huge impact on me. We are the next generation to shape this country. There’s no better time to start than now. Why not try improving our education system. Learners’ Voice has provided us with the platform and opportunity to do so.

Overall, the whole day was just an amazing experience full of positivity. I’ve grown to be more confident through being part of Learners’ Voice. This launch allowed us to show that Learners’ Voice is powerful. It has the power to do so much more than you could ever possibly imagine. We’ve come so far already and I’m very excited to see where Learners’ Voice takes us from here.

This was an experience I will never forget and I’m extremely proud and thankful to have been part of it.

Newbridge College Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland Tel: +353 45 487200 Fax: +353 45 487234 Email: info@newbridge-college.ie