Are you an English educator, teaching undergraduate methods courses and/or graduate classes for practicing teachers? If so, Everyday Advocacy can be integrated into the courses you teach.
As English educators know, the notion of teacher professionalism is fast changing.
Everyday Advocacy can help pre-service teachers embrace that new vision, learning ways to strategically inform others about our reasons for teaching in particular ways—and thus being able to teach in those ways.
How to use the site to help preservice teachers
- Introduce them to the new vision for teacher professionalism. (And in doing so, help meet some of the goals of the NCTE Standards for Initial Preparation of Teachers of Secondary ELA, especially standard VII: Candidates are prepared to interact knowledgeably with students, families, and colleagues based on social needs and institutional roles, engage in leadership and/or collaborative roles in English Language Arts professional learning communities, and actively develop as professional educators.)
- Ask students to read sections on Core Ideas about Advocacy, especially Storytelling and Framing. Invite them to try some of the In Practice Invitations.
- As students in your classes learn about what and how to teach, ask them to articulate as well, why they might teach in that way. Then invite them to think about whom they would need to inform (parents, administrators, colleagues) and what strategies and tactics they might use to inform different groups. By reading the section on Identifying Tactics, students can learn specific suggestions that might work for their contexts. A chart like this (that students would fill out over the semester as they learn new ways of teaching) might be helpful:
|What /how you teach||Why teach this way?||How can you inform others about this approach?|
|Writing Workshop||Helps students understand that writing is a process
Helps students receive valuable teacher and peer feedback
Helps students improve writing over time
(See Kittle, Atwell, Newkirk, etc.)
|Family Literacy nights or workshops
Videos of classroom practice shared with parents
Portfolios of student work shared with parents at Portfolio nights
|Choice reading||Helps students become lifelong readers
Helps students develop approaches for selecting books
Helps students develop stamina towards reading
|Parent-teacher book clubs on some of choice books
Literacy nights in which students give book talks
Student interviews with adults in the school about their reading habits
- Ask students to include a section in the unit plans they develop that lays out some tactics for reaching out to others.
Share with us how you are using Everyday Advocacy in your pre-service courses.
How to use the site to help practicing teachers
Practicing teachers are already aware of the gaps between what research-based literacy practice suggests and what they are often asked to do in schools. Everyday Advocacy can help these teachers articulate the issues inherent in those gaps and find ways to have their voices influence decision-making surrounding how literacy is taught.
Whether you want to offer a semester long course in advocacy or insert advocacy lessons within an existing course, you’ll find assistance on the site.
For a whole course on advocacy
- Take teachers through the whole site, supplementing the sections on Why Advocacy Matters, Learning About Advocacy, and Action Principles with readings and examples of advocacy work that has been successful in the world of education (see attached Bibliography).
- Within the site, you’ll see specific questions and steps that will lead the teachers through naming and framing an issue, finding allies, identifying decision-makers and more.
- Teachers can end the term by developing an advocacy plan with a strategy and tactics in place. (See the tactics Beth Shaum developed for her final project for a course like this: a blog called Use Your Outside Voice and an accompanying video.)
To insert advocacy lessons within an existing course
- If teacher-students are doing any kind of seminar paper (either research-based or teaching-based), you can spend a few class sessions exploring how to take their newfound understandings public. Students can read sections on the site about naming an audience and identifying tactics in order to think about who needs to learn about their work and how they might reach that audience.
- Ask them to write elevator speeches tightening and articulating their research issue as preparation for reaching out to others. (See examples in Action Principles Toolkit—Staying on Point.)
- Invite them to read some of the approaches other teachers have taken, highlighted on Everyday Advocates in Action Blog.
- Ask students to create a piece that accompanies their final project that explains their issue to an outside audience whom they would like to rethink or understand something differently. These pieces might range from a proposal for a new curricular approach, a PD presentation, a blog, testimony for a school board, a column for a print or online newspaper, a video, etc. (Students have done all of these in courses I teach!)
Share with us how you are using Everyday Advocacy in your graduate courses!