Throughout the day, we ran a series of activities and presented impactful videos. The students worked in groups to discuss the great aspects of their school, as well as the parts they would like to help improve. We workshopped the areas of improvement and laid out some ways we can do this. This led to many open discussions with the students about the most effective ways they believe they can create positive change and allowed them to voice their views.
We encouraged the students to think about how big of an impact they could have on both their lives, and the lives of students who are yet to come through the school. We understand the changes we’d like to see aren’t going to take place immediately, but we will be running another forum this year (2021) to make a detailed action plan about how we can implement our ideas. Our school social worker and year 12 advisor have come on board with our ideas and are going to help us to implement them.
Throughout the day we encouraged students to learn to have more confidence in themselves and use their voice. This was important to share this with the students as it’s one of the biggest things we learnt during our RYA program. Self confidence and finding your voice is tricky, but slowly introducing it will hopefully encourage many students to do so.
We found many students are hesitant to express their opinions at school because they feel like it’s not their place. However we would like to create a more open and expressive environment in our school and improve student agency and student voice. We are aiming to do this by a youth to youth approach as this is one of the most effective ways we are able to gain students’ views on current issues.
The forum was a great success and it was surprising but validating to see how open many of the students were. Establishing ground rules about the privacy and confidentiality of these conversations helped this. It was an extremely valuable day and we look forward to creating a positive change within the school. We are hopeful that this program will be carried on by the current year 11’s in 2022.
Claire & Darcy