How to co-design with students: a student's five-step guide for teachers (2023)

This article comes with resources: you can find tips and questions for each step onCo-design with student workbook

Co-design is the process of collaborating with all stakeholders - students, educators and everyone in between - to design something, whether it's an event, project, planning session, proposal, or something else entirely. (Note: We'll use these words interchangeably throughout this article.) As an educator, you might think it's easier to go about your day and plan things on your own, but we know that everyone is looking to improve student experiences. And you probably already know the answer, but who will have the best ideas on how to make things better? The students themselves! To make meaningful improvements for students, you must make these changes and decisions collaboratively.swindlerstudents.

We are confident in saying this because, even though we are now in college, during our seven years as High Tech High students and eventually student leaders in the Student Ambassador program, we have worked closely with our teachers and school leaders to plan and make decisions in and out of school. classroom.

In the spring of our senior year, the Improvement for Equity by Design (IExD) team at High Tech HighGSEhe asked both of us to facilitate the empathy interview portion of his continuous improvement 101 workshop. asking open-ended questions and listening without judging. Hence our role as Student Consultants was born. Since then, we've continued to share empathy-based strategies with educators and created our own workshops on student voice and co-design.

Our co-design work with GSE lasted two years. In the spring of 2021, we came together with a team of students from various high-tech high schools, across all grades. As a group, we've shared our personal experiences with co-design to gather some tips for people looking to get started. We reflected on when co-design worked well and when it went wrong, and shared our stories to find some common themes. Based on our experiences, we've identified five steps that come up frequently in the co-design process.

While the steps and tips provided in the guide might seem like a basic review or introduction to some seasoned codesign educators, there are many opportunities to improve your current plans. by roger hartChild Participation Ladderprovides a useful picture that shows how students' voices are integrated into the educational space and community; Hopefully, by the end of this article, you'll leave with a few ideas in mind on how to climb that ladder.

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It is important to note that the steps we will discuss are not rigid and are just a guide to support you in co-designing projects with students. As we dive into each of the steps, remember to use whatever is most helpful to you in the process. Each co-design experience is unique and doesn't fit into a rigid mold.

who is this for

This guide is for teachers who want to involve students in the process of planning what happens in the classroom. As we study in a project-based school, most of our experience is co-developing projects with teachers. Most of the content discussed in this article will focus on the project design process. However, you can also use the steps in this guide to design anything from college application support to your classroom design.

Step 1: Adult Preparation

To start the codesign process, ask yourself two questions: Why did you choose to codesign with students? What will the codesign student bring to your project?

Effective co-design with students is likely a mindset shift from what you experienced as a student. From an adult's point of view, there are probably very few times in your history as a learner when your voice has been activated and engaged during the learning process. To combat your understandable tendency to replicate what's been done for you, it's helpful to pause and reflect on why you're choosing the codesign process and what areas you might need support in making this change in practice. For example, ask yourself if you've made any of these common mistakes:

  1. Did I invite only the closest student?
  2. Did I ignore student schedules or preparation time?
  3. Have I not shared explicit goals or purposes for what we are doing and how you will contribute together?
  4. Forgot to follow up after the meeting to share how your voice was implemented?
  5. Did I not thank the students directly?
  6. I involved few students in my process, but advertised that my work involved the “voice of the student”?

This kind of participatory practice is common and wrong. If you can reflect on ways you have worked or worked in the past that seem both positive and negative, you will be in a better position to act on your values, create moments of belonging and inclusion, and understand the difference between presence and absence. student student voice.

As a senior in high school, I (Eliana) was a member of the Student Leadership Council (SLC), a group started by school administrators to bring together students from all four grades. The objective ofSLCwas to materialize the voice of students in the elections that were being held on the online calendar due to the pandemic, as well as the reopening plans.

students inSLCThey felt empowered to share their perspectives honestly because school administrators incorporated the first rule of the “adult preparation” step:listen to understand. It is not enough for students to share: adults must strive to understand and be open to listening.allstudent perspectives. Acknowledge what the student is saying and talk about how they might consider moving forward. Even if your input cannot be implemented, let the student know that you understand and are listening. school administrators inSLCtook the initiative and time to listen to students and work with them to integrate their ideas.

The second rule isRespect students as equal partners. Respond to students as you would an adult. Students need to be heard as thinking people... because they are! Don't respond to the student as if it's new, like, "Oh, cool, he's having grown-up thoughts."

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It is also important to ensure that you participate in conversations relevant to the student's knowledge and understanding of the material or topic. Students are experts in their own experience and perspective, which is a key ingredient to your job as an educator that you don't have alone. Students may not be experts (yet) in molecular biology, American history, or educational theory, so avoid framing your feedback questions with subject matter experience as a prerequisite. Instead, seek to understand how students experience project design. You can ask questions like:

  • What part of this project do you find most exciting and why?
  • Are there parts of this project you wouldn't want to see? Why is this?
  • If you were [insert goal here], how would you consider getting started?
  • In this project, we hope to [insert purpose here.] When you think about this, what do you ask yourself? What are you curious?
Step 2: The Invitation

Which students should be at the table? How will you invite them to join you in the design process?

Please note that students are not interchangeable. As a senior, I (Eliana) was asked to provide feedback on a seventh grade project. While I could share a lot of feedback, the demands and experiences of a senior are quite different than a high school student, so I feel the value of my feedback was limited.

You can invite students who have experience with the problem you want to solve. For example, if you are a 12th grade teacher who is planning a writing workshop for your students, you could invite graduates who have recently gone through the process and can share what they would like to know about the process, college essays. general advice and encouragement for young people on the rise.

If you are creating a project for your class, your real students will be the best co-designers. It can be all too easy to engage with students who speak the loudest, participate frequently, etc., but some of the most valuable information can come from students who may not fit that mold. The codesign process will be much richer if you invite and include students who:

  • may not seem interested
  • They present themselves as quieter/introverted
  • I don't think they have any good ideas to contribute.
  • He has trouble staying focused in class.
  • son neurodiverse

If you're looking for ways to expand your student pool and understand the impact this will have on your work, we recommend watching Susan Cain's TED Talk"The Power of Introvertsand reading Jennifer Gonzalez's blog post "Four Ways Teachers Can Support Black Students.”

Do some work to cultivate an interest in the design process itself. Let students know that their contributions would be valuable to you, the entire classroom, and/or the school community. The best way to do this is to integrate your feedback early and often. But be careful, the opposite is also true! If students perceive that you are not integrating their contributions, they may be less willing to participate.

When engaging in co-design, it can be tempting to jump right into the design process; however, it is also important to think about the dynamics between your students. If students don't feel comfortable with each other, they may feel less inclined to talk and share their ideas. Consider inviting students with similar backgrounds or interests so that they feel comfortable sharing their opinions.omake a plan for how you will create a safe space for sharing status differences. One idea we have that has worked for us in the past is to define and create standardsswindlerstudents. When I (Shreena) was in high school, my class had one-on-one group discussions. Everyone established and reviewed the rules created by the students before each conversation. This allowed everyone to feel more comfortable sharing.

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We hope that the most important thing in this section is to make the process adapt to the students, not the students adapt to the process. Let the students lead the work!

Step 3: Student Preparation

Now that you have your team, how can you ensure that students are as prepared as possible to co-design with you?

Let students know what you expect of them and give them time to prepare. For example:

  • Are they participating in an icebreaker?
  • Will they have a speaking role?
    • If students have a formal speaking role, give them plenty of time to practice and help them prepare.
  • Are there any questions you must answer during the event that they should know about in advance?
    • You may not have questions prepared for students, but if you do, let them know you'd like them to think about the questions before the co-design session.

There was a time when I (Shreena) felt woefully unprepared for my empathy interview. I was ready to interview some students at a continuous improvement workshop, but the students never showed up. At the last minute, I had to prepare questions to interview my old manager, who was in the Zoom room, on an entirely new subject. This was a stressful experience for me, but it serves as a great learning experience that can be applied to the co-design process! If students don't have enough time to prepare for their roles, they may not feel prepared for what you are asking them to do during the event/meeting.

Our second tip for this step is to create a space for students to get to know each other. For many students, one of the most dreaded experiences is being introduced to someone new via email – it's incredibly awkward! As an 8th grade student, I (Eliana) participated in a youth summit for climate activism. A few weeks before the summit, we were asked to introduce ourselves via email. (Imagine dozens of middle and high school students from around the world trying to connect via email! Hint: pure chaos!) While the intention for students to connect before the conference was well-intentioned, not all of us had the skills to do so. introduce us, follow up by email, and manage an email thread.

Another form of communication, such as a more informal group chat where students can respond to each other easily, could have been more effective in this situation. There are countless creative ways to allow students to connect with each other. You can choose some fun icebreakers that students can do in person, or via Zoom, which can serve as a nice connection point instead of an awkward email introduction.

Step 4: During the Event

There is no clear way to design your event. We wish we could say that there is some kind of magic formula for event design that will work every time, but it varies depending on your discipline and the stage of planning you need feedback on. However, we have some tips to make this process easier.

Our first tip for this step isorganize your time well so that there is equitable airtime. Reserve space to speak, but also give others space to speak and make students feel part of the meeting. Don't assume that equitable participation will come naturally. It is not surprising when one student receives more airtime than the others, or when time is not organized and airtime turns out to be uneven. Some strategies we've seen work well in the past include using a "speaking object" to symbolize whose turn it is to speak. Students have the option to skip turns, but this method allows everyone equal opportunity to share. If you are facilitating the event, it can be helpful to note who is occupying the space and whether you need to help create space (often through gentle reminders or suggestions) so that all students have a chance to share.

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The second tip is toBe clear about student roles in the session.. Are students acting as facilitators? Decision makers? Comments? Make sure both adult participants and students are aware of their roles. Also, be clear about student ownership of the project and that more ownership often means more involvement in planning. For example, if a student participates in the entire codesign process, they will have more responsibility for the project, but they will also spend more time, energy, and thought on the codesign process. On the other hand, a single co-design event where a student only enters after project planning has been done will require less time and commitment from students, but it could also mean that they have less ownership of the project.

The last tip ismake sure everyone has a chance to contribute in a way they feel comfortable with. For example, if your event is on Zoom, you can open chat for contributions, create themed rooms, or let people prepare their contributions in advance. Don't expect everyone to feel comfortable just jumping into a conversation with a new group.

There are a few more considerations when planning your event:

  • feedback protocol
    • How do you want students to provide feedback? What media are you going to use?
  • Space and configuration
    • Are you doing this with an entire class? With few students? Got a slideshow you need to share or some A/V setup?
  • dynamics between students
    • This is the one we have personally seen most often overlooked. Are there students in your class who have spent time together and are comfortable participating in pairs? Or is it better to do an icebreaker first?

Keep these questions in mind as you begin planning your event.

When I (Eliana) was in seventh grade, one of my humanities teachers invited several students from our class to give their opinion on a humanities project that had already been developed. It was clear to us that we weren't obligated to participate, but that she would love our opinion if we were interested and comfortable. He was also intentional in indicating what our role in the co-design process would be (in this case, he was providing feedback). I decided to accept! During the event, my teacher introduced us to the project and asked if we would be interested and, if not, what could be improved in the project. Overall, the project was well received by all of us and ended up being implemented in the following semester. Overall, my professor did a great job with the co-design process. She prepared us in advance, making expectations clear and making room for the student's voice. If she wanted to improve her co-design process and accommodate more robust feedback, it might have been helpful for her to provide several means for us to provide feedback, such as a written format.

Step 5: Follow up

How will students' ideas be incorporated into the project design? How will you recognize student participation in the co-design process?

It's easy to forget this step, but it's important to thank everyone involved in the co-design process and keep them updated. Upon completion of a continuous improvement workshop, they always thank me (Shreena) for taking the time to interact with the participants, which makes me feel valued for taking time out of my day to work with stakeholders. Upon completion of the workshop, I receive an email fromIExDteam, thanking me for my work and outlining the next steps of the project. These emails let me know what will happen next in the process, leaving room for open communication even after the event. Emails also often share event impact, mentions, comments, and more. In general, it is important to inform students about the next steps in the project and to take time to reflect with students on the process so far. This step helps ensure that educators take students' ideas into account and actively try to find ways to incorporate them.

in short

It was a lot of information! From all of this, we really want you to understand that for the co-design process to be meaningful and fruitful, genuine participation and authenticity on the part of educators is needed for students to make the same effort. Students want to thrive in school, and by providing opportunities to be creative and collaborate on what they want to see and do in their school, educators and students can make school a better learning environment for everyone. Co-design can allow you to better understand student needs, find out what is relevant and important to students, and it can also help you create projects and curricula that are more engaging for students.

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What is the learning co design process? ›

Co-design is defined by Roschelle et al., (2006) as a facilitated, collaborative process in which teachers, researchers, and developers work together in defined roles to design an educational innovation.

What are the five effective classroom management strategies? ›

5 Effective Classroom Management Strategies
  • Write Down the Rules.
  • Let Students Help.
  • Encourage Questioning.
  • Let Students Lead.
  • Encourage Group Projects.
Sep 21, 2021

What methods do you use to monitor student progress? ›

Monitoring student progress includes all the ways that teachers assess student progress. Examples include: – Exit tickets, – Quizzes, – Observing students as they work, – Asking students questions, and – Looking at student work.

What are the 5 steps collaborative learning process? ›

You will probably remember the five phases for cooperative learning described earlier, in the "Exploration" section. They are (1) forming a question, (2) identifying goals, (3) creating a rubric, (4) assigning a specific assessment task, and (5) reflecting to adjust. These provide a good framework for your lesson plan.

What is an example of co-design in practice? ›

Example of co-design in practice

“[A] corner of the central shopping square in Lancaster was transformed into a representation of the area 'Beyond the Castle'. Passers-by were invited to document both the things they did in the area and how it could be improved on a three-metre model of the area.”

What are 5 strategies that can be used in a multigrade classroom? ›

The results of the study informed that the classroom strategies of multigrade teachers include: Classroom Management, Collaborative Learning, Using Differentiated Instruction, Connecting the Teaching to Real-life Situations, Integrating Technology in Teaching, and the flexibility of the Teacher.

What are the 4 C's of classroom management? ›

Teaching through the lens of the "Four Cs"—critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity—will help us and our students stay essential in an evolving world of work.

What are the 3 C's in classroom management? ›

As you consider some of your most challenging students or classes, think about your approach to classroom management through the lens of these three areas: connection, consistency, and compassion.

What are the 5 steps to implement design thinking? ›

The short form of the design thinking process can be articulated in five steps or phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.

How do teachers use design thinking? ›

Design Thinking is part of the broader project-based learning educational model. It uses a creative, systematic approach to teach problem-solving. Students progress through the stages of Discovery, Ideation, Experimentation, and Evolution in search of innovative solutions to vexing problems.

What can teachers use to monitor student progress in the classroom? ›

1. Ways to monitor student progress at the beginning of the lesson
  • Give entry slips/entrance tickets. ...
  • Grade, out loud and with the whole class, homework from the previous lesson. ...
  • Ask brief review questions. ...
  • Make adjustments. ...
  • Eye contact and proximity. ...
  • “Stoplight” ...
  • “1, 2, 3” ...
  • Questioning.
Mar 13, 2019

What are the 4 types of assessment? ›

A Guide to Types of Assessment: Diagnostic, Formative, Interim, and Summative.

What are the five levels of collaboration? ›

Levels of Collaboration

1) networking, 2) cooperation or alliance, 3) coordination or partnership, 4) coalition, and 5) collaboration. According to this model, the collaboration process exists across a continuum with the stages differing based upon purpose, how decisions are made and the type of leadership.

What are the 5 es of collaboration fluency? ›

Collaboration Fluency is defined by the 5Es—Establish, Envision, Engineer, Execute, and Examine.

What are co-design methods? ›

This method consists of people with the relevant skills and experience coming together to create a tangible 'product'* such as training materials, information booklets, a new service, organisational policies, and service specifications.

How do you plan a co-design session? ›

Most sessions then involve a combination of 2 or more of the following activities.
  1. Research playback. This is a knowledge share of what you've learnt so far. ...
  2. Ideation. Ideation usually involves generating lots of ideas using activities like Crazy 8's. ...
  3. Testing existing solutions. ...
  4. Testing new ideas.

What are the key elements of co-design? ›

According to work previously commissioned by the King's Fund in the UK (The Point of Care Foundation's experience-based co-design toolkit), the four key principles of co-design are participation, development, ownership & power, and outcomes & intent.

What do you think is the best strategy to use in a multigrade classroom? ›

The teacher should be flexible …. It is the most important classroom strategies in multigrade teaching because the teacher prepares flexible and appropriate materials. These include teacher-guided activity sheets, group learning worksheets, and individual practice worksheets.

What are some preparations you can do to design an effective lesson plan for multi grade classes? ›

Here are our 5 things you need to know to create a great lesson plan:
  1. Clear Goal/Objective. There is always something new for you to teach your students. ...
  2. Anticipate Challenges. ...
  3. Lesson Assessment. ...
  4. Make it Relevant. ...
  5. Practice Presenting.
May 1, 2015

What is 5 es lesson plan? ›

What are the 5Es? o The 5Es represent five stages of a sequence for teaching and learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend (or Elaborate), and Evaluate. personally involved in the lesson, while pre-assessing prior understanding.

What are the 4Cs that teachers are required to develop to students? ›

learning and innovation skills that students should master in their classrooms to be prepared for life after high school. The 4Cs consist of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

What are the 4 basic elements of successful classroom management plans? ›

According to researchers, classroom management is a core strategy for effective teaching, four components of classroom management were identified and analyzed, which included: rules and regulations, disciplinary interventions, teacher-student interactions, and mental sets.

What is the ABC approach to classroom management? ›

What is the ABC approach? ABC stands for antecedent (A), behaviour (B) and consequence (C). It is an observation tool that teachers can use to analyse what happened before, during and after a behaviour1. All behaviour can be thought of as communication.

Which among the 5 proactive classroom management strategies is very effective? ›

Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness can be very effective by teaching kids to be proactive and taking charge of their own thoughts and feelings.

What 3 effective classroom management strategies are based on? ›

The five components of effective classroom management include developing behavioral standards, establishing working relationships with students, valuing your time as a teacher, familiarizing students with teaching methods, and anticipating student behavior.

What are the stages of learning design process? ›

What are the steps of good learning design?
  • Goals.
  • Opportunities.
  • Target audience.
  • Learning Topics.
  • Technical review.
  • Discovery report.
  • Content conversion.
  • New learning.
May 20, 2021

What are the key principles of co-design? ›

According to work previously commissioned by the King's Fund in the UK (The Point of Care Foundation's experience-based co-design toolkit), the four key principles of co-design are participation, development, ownership & power, and outcomes & intent.

What is the purpose of co-design? ›

To explore both problems and solutions collaboratively. To connect stakeholders with citizen groups in a meaningful way. To design solutions that are grounded in both community need and government constraints.

What are co learning methods? ›

The following examples are among the most well-known types of collaborative learning:
  • Think-pair-share: Give students a discussion prompt, question, short problem, or issue to consider. ...
  • ​​​​​​​Problem-based learning (or PBL) ...
  • Guided Design. ...
  • Case Studies. ...
  • Simulations. ...
  • Peer Teaching. ...
  • Small group discussion. ...
  • Peer Editing.

What are the 5 phases of training design? ›

Training can be viewed as a process comprised of five related stages or activities: assessment, motivation, design, delivery, and evaluation.

What are the 5 stages of design thinking in education? ›

There are five steps to design thinking which are empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

What is the 5th stage of the design process? ›

Test: the fifth and final phase of the design thinking process, where you test solutions to derive a deep understanding of the product and its users. Designers or evaluators rigorously test the complete product using the best solutions identified in the Prototype stage.

What are co-design activities? ›

A co-design session is a collaborative and creative design session. It brings users and other stakeholders into the design process. This article introduces how to run a session and links to more detailed, low-jargon guides. “It is a tool for discovery and exploring opportunities rather than producing final solutions.

What are the strengths of co-design? ›

The immediate benefits of employing a co-design approach include:
  • Generation of better ideas with a high degree of originality and user value.
  • Improved knowledge of customer or user needs.
  • Immediate validation of ideas or concepts.
  • Higher quality, better differentiated products or services.
  • More efficient decision making.

What is co-design in design thinking? ›

Co-design is the act of creating with stakeholders (business or customers) specifically within the design development process to ensure the results meet their needs and are usable. (Co-design may also be called participatory design- a term which is used more often within the design community.)

What is the difference between co create and co-design? ›

Sanders [4] defines co-creation as an act of collective creativity that is experienced and performed jointly by a group of people. Co-design is collective creativity that is applied across the whole span of a design process. This means that co-design is a specific instance of co-creation.

What is the best co-teaching strategy? ›

Parallel teaching allows the co-teachers to maximize participation and minimize behavior problems. This approach reduces the student-teacher ratio and increases instructional intensity. Co-teachers will need to be cognizant of timing and pacing when using this strategy.

What is the best co-teaching method? ›

Team Teaching is when two teachers are simultaneously teaching content together in the classroom. Many consider this the most effective form of co-teaching, but it is also the most time-consuming.

What are the 6 co-teaching strategies? ›

6 Models of Co-Teaching
  • One Teach, One Observe. ...
  • One Teach, One Assist. ...
  • Parallel Teaching. ...
  • Station Teaching. ...
  • Alternative Teaching. ...
  • Team Teaching.
Nov 21, 2022


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