In Norwegian schools, student councils have a long tradition, and law enforces students to participate in democratic processes. However, it is a challenge to get the student council to work according to purpose, that students are to influence their own learning environment. One challenge is that students often see the student council as a place where they can report all their wishes, be it a coke machine or pizza for lunch. Another challenge is that it may be difficult for the student representative to get the opinions of all students in their class. To meet these challenges, we have tried out an alternative way of working with student councils in primary and lower secondary schools, applying a systematic approach to working with the learning environment. In this approach, the student representatives ask their class 1) What is important for you to be okay in schoool? 2) What do you as class do well, what are you satisfied with?, 3) Is there something that is difficult for your class and that makes you not feel okay in school? All students in class write answers to the questions that the student representatives bring to the student council, which discuss possible areas the class need to focus on improving, and what they could do. Suggestions from the student council is then brought back to class by the student representative, and they decide on what to work on. In this way, the students actively contribute to improve their own learning environment.
May Olaug Horverak, Birkenes Learning Centre, Norway
Eva Carmen Jenssen, Grimstad municipality, Norway
Stream: Learning Experiences
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