In the past, those who organized to advocate would communicate by calling each other on landline phones or by plastering flyers on telephone poles, bulletin boards, and restroom mirrors. They would gather and meet in coffee shops, on front stoops, or in church basements. Now advocates communicate through email, cell phones, or social media. Twitter, in particular, has enabled messages to spread like wildfire and has been instrumental in a number of movements, both national and international, over the past decade.
October, which is Connected Educator Month, is a wonderful time for NCTE members to advocate through Twitter using two hashtags: #WhatWeHonor and #WhyIWrite. You can advocate generally by just posting on your own page, or you can tweet directly to your elected representatives using the Twitter handles outlined in Twitter as an Advocacy Tool and Governors Play a Key Role in Education.
During October, NCTE is inviting educators to participate in its Innovations in Assessments theme. Among other activities, you can tweet using the hashtag #WhatWeHonor to identify assessment practices and activities we ought to focus our assessment energy on—besides standardized tests.
For example, in its 2015 Education Policy Platform, NCTE notes the importance of “multiple measures” and “new and innovative forms of assessment” such as “portfolios, performance assessments, and competency-based models.” The platform says that assessments must be “fair and equitable.” Assessments should “[p]rovide teachers with the information they need to improve instruction, [h]elp students learn and [p]rovide parents with information about students’ development.”
Sample tweets from this document might look like this:
- #WhatWeHonor: Assessments that are fair and equitable
- #WhatWeHonor: Assessments that employ multiple measures
Also this month, we celebrate NCTE’s Seventh Annual National Day of Writing. We encourage all educators to participate in the Tweet-Up on October 20 using the #WhyIWrite hashtag and include visual representations in photos, film, and graphics.
Looking for inspiration? Feel free to review NCTE’s Position Statements on Writing. Writing is a complex and varied activity that takes a great deal of skill and practice to teach well. Wouldn’t it be great if these truths were more obvious to decision makers at all levels of influence? Consider using this hashtag as a form of advocacy for what writing is and what the teaching of it should be.
In 140 characters, you, your students, and members of your community can engage as well as inform. By sharing through Twitter, you can reach hundreds of people if your tweet is favorited, shared or retweeted. Take this month to advocate for your profession, yourself, and your students by tweeting #WhatWeHonor and #WhatIWrite.