Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Sheila Hanna


Conversations in the Classroom: the Critical Need for Students' Voices to be Heard was inspired by a course taken at Bank Street College of Education titled, "Social Worlds of Childhood". In this course, I was asked to think of a challenging topic to discuss with my students, such as: death, sexuality, race, et cetera. As I reflected on my students, I thought about how they solve classroom conflicts with violence, regardless of the severity of the conflict. I decided that I wanted my students to think about and discuss why they use violence to solve the majority of their problems. I was hoping my question would begin a series of conversations that would help the students and me better understand the choices they make. After having two conversations with my students regarding their use of violence, I realized that it was not the topic that held their interest. On the contrary, it was the act of conversing that impacted my students so profoundly. After this realization, I decided that conversations needed to become a daily routine in my classroom. Too often, students' ideas, opinions, thoughts, and questions are halted and trivialized. In our current test driven world of teaching, teachers and administrators too often forget that children should be encouraged to think critically and to have their voices and ideas heard. The conversations my students participated in were my attempt to move beyond standardized testing and "skill and drill" teaching. I saw a dramatic improvement in my students' confidence and self-worth when they felt they had a safe place to be listened to. Our daily conversations helped me better understand my students and assured them that their voices mattered and were heard.


Childhood general education (Program of study)

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