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Dr. Russell Quaglia on Student Voice

dr quaglia with aspiration slide

Dr. Russell Quaglia offered a new definition of aspiration.

Education researcher Dr. Russell Quaglia framed his talk, “Student Voice: They Have Something to Teach Us!” around three beliefs: “Students are the potential, not the problem. Students have something to teach us. The only way forward is together.”  He redefined aspiration as “the ability to dream and set goals while being inspired in the present to reach those goals” and mapped the aspiration hot spot at the intersection of high dreaming and high doing.

Dr. Quaglia noted that the assembled representatives of National Blue Ribbon Schools were already doing the kinds of things that help student know they matter and invest hope for their futures. But much of his research in other schools suggest that all too often “the longer kids are in school the less they know why.” He also provided a raft of research results from schools worldwide and over many years. Explore his research at the Quaglia Institute website.

Some key findings on motivation:
• Students who feel safe and trusting are 7 times more likely to be motivated.
• Students who believe in their own worth are 6 times more likely to be motivated.
• Students who feel engaged are 14 times more likely to be motivated.
• Students who worked with a sense of purpose are 17 times more likely to be motivated.
• Teachers who felt they had a voice were 4 times more likely to be excited about their future in education.

And yet surveys of student beliefs found that:
• 43% of students said they knew the goals their school was working on this year
• 44% of students say they have a voice in their school
• 46% of students said they believed their teachers cared if they were absent
• 45% of students said they believed their teachers knew their names
• 78% of students said their teachers believed in them and expected them to succeed
• 88% of students said they believed they can be successful
• 34% of students said their teachers knew their hopes and dreams.
• 47% of students said their teachers were willing to learn from them.

Dr. Quaglia urged educators to continue to be creative and curious and to teach with a spirit of adventure. “Make it safe for students to be successful,” he said.

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