3 International Learner Voices

SidiayMohamed Sidibay is a former child soldier from Sierra Leone. He was a guest presenter at the Education Fast Forward 5 debate From Learner Voice to Global Peace.

“At the tender age of three and a half, I was recruited to become a child soldier during brutal civil war that wrecked my homeland, Sierra Leone. My experience as a young soldier has undoubtedly shaped my view of the world, for I not only had to deal with the loss of my parents at a young age, but I also had to serve under the same men who took them away from me. Killers, gangsters, rapists and drug addicts surrounded me. During those tumultuous, formative years, I fought against my own people and spilled my own blood on my own soil. I am lucky to be alive.

Now, at George Washington University, I have become involved with the GW STAND chapter, an organization whose mission is to ’empower individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide’. Being a former child soldier I took upon myself to speak at gatherings and rallies and bring more awareness to my fellow students. I speak via web conferences to groups of students all over the world.”

lineLine Dalile is a young author and poet from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. She was also a guest presenter at Education Fast Forward 5 debate From Learner Voice to Global Peace.

“It is quite hard to look at students’ faces and continue to guess whether they’re engaged, involved or even interested in how we teach. Students provide us with valuable feedback on how lessons could be improved, or whether they are worth attending. Yet when I think of student voices, I imagine authority in the hands of students—more than giving comments and feedback regarding learning inside the classroom.

The words ‘student voices’ seem like a continuous puzzle and perhaps a concept to think about. Why student voices? Giving students voice gives them a sense of power—to be a part of change that influences decision-making in schools; which in return, affects their education—student voices together. There is an emerging trend of student-led movements and a number of reasons why these movements should be ‘student-led’. Everywhere, signs says ‘The customer knows best’, and in our supermarket of knowledge, students are the customers of our schools. They are the emerging consumers of our products. Student voices offer constant feedback and allow us to incorporate their ideas—and put them into practice to deliver the best education for all.”

celestineCelestine Kemunto Nyamari lives in Kenya, where she attends St. Theresa’s Girls’ Secondary School. She took part in the first student-led Education Fast Forward debate.

“Technology has played a big role in the development of our countries. Electronic learning has helped very much in education. We get to learn from other students in different countries. We have our ideas and we get to learn new ideas from them. This exchange of ideas and knowledge helps national integration and may move us towards a more peaceful world.

More imaginative programs are being written. For example, the computer can be used in the classroom to teach story writing. In one program, a student is invited to write a story on the computer choosing from a list of possible scenes. These and other strategies teachers and schools employ can ensure that technology becomes purposeful and systematic. There can be little doubt that its potential is very great, as it provides the opportunity for effective teaching of skills, of finding and using information within a context of high student interest. This unique combination is too great a value to be wasted.

True leaders are not those who strive to be first, but those who are fast to strive, those who give their success to the team. True leaders are fast to see the need, envision the plan and empower the team for action.”

More on the EFF debates and news on upcoming debates can be found here, and also by following EFF debates on Twitter: @effdebate and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EducationFastForward.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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