Meaningful participation among students occurs when contributions to the school and classroom environment are facilitated, rather than directed, by adults; and when learning is connected to students' personal interests and applicable to their lives. Meaningful participation at school cultivates students' autonomy; decision-making and leadership skills; and personal talents and strengths.
This What Works Brief, cowritten by Meagan O'Malley, former Research Associate at WestEd, provides teachers and other school staff strategies for supporting students' meaningful participation in school, including:
- Volunteering to be the advisor to a student-led initiative or interest group
- Facilitating an after-school, extracurricular project in a particular content area
- Having students collaborate to set class and school norms, as well as learning goals
- Adding student-selected, project-based assignments to curricula
Note: Developed by the California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) Technical Assistance Center, What Works Briefs summarize state-of-the-art practices, strategies, and programs for improving school climate.
Based on the most current research, each of the ten briefs provides practical recommendations for school staff, parents, and community members and can be used separately to target specific issues (e.g., family engagement) or grouped together to address more complex, systemwide issues. What Works Briefs are organized into three sections:
- Quick Wins: What Teachers and Adults Can Do Right Now
- Universal Supports: Schoolwide Policies, Practices, and Programs
- Targeted Supports: Intensive Supports for At-Risk Youth