Tactics are those specific actions that we take to try to create change. And there are many kinds of tactics: from sending a tweet to a congressional representative to inviting parents to watch a video of our classroom.
Sometimes tactics are situated in our own issue, the issue we’re trying to promote (generally on a local level) in order to create change. And sometimes tactics are tied to someone else’s issue, an issue we might agree with and support, but that originates somewhere else and is often more global in nature.
What does this mean for your own work? If you’re focusing on a particular issue and message that you’ve developed, your tactics might take one of two forms:
- tactics designed to lay the groundwork (what we sometimes call proactive tactics) and
- tactics designed to influence a particular decision point (what we sometimes refer to as calls to action).
Tactics that connect to your own issue: Laying the groundwork
Tactics that lay the groundwork help others understand general concepts or specific stances: they can be those things we do on a day-to-day basis to help others better understand our classroom practice, our reasons for teaching in the ways we do, or our stances on specific educational ideas— in other words, those approaches to building awareness.
For example, when we write a letter to parents explaining our curriculum, we’re using a tactic that lays the groundwork—helping to inform them about our ways of teaching. When we host a literacy night in which we invite parents to think about the reading and writing they do in their everyday lives and then connect that to what we’re teaching, we’re using a tactic that lays the groundwork. Much of what teachers can do to try to change the public narrative about education might begin—safely and easily—with tactics like these.
Tactics that connect to your own issue: Influencing decision-makers
Tactics that are designed to influence others at a particular decision point are essentially action-demanding. When we testify at a school board meeting about cutting budgets for a library or getting rid of creative writing classes or when we meet with the curriculum committee to suggest an alternative use of textbook money to purchase young adult fiction, we are practicing calls to action. These tactics target a particular issue, inform the decision maker about the issue, and then suggest something the decision maker might do to create change. In part these tactics are informative, but the underlying message is to target the decision makers do something with the information you’ve provided. These tactics are usually well-thought out and directly connect to some of the action principles raised thus far: finding allies and discovering who’s in charge, framing and cutting the issue, and considering short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals.
Read about what others have done to identify tactics on the Everyday Advocacy in Action Blog.