On each Friday of Literacy Advocacy Month, NCTE member Cathy Fleischer will guide readers through an exploration of Everyday Advocacy – a resource for educators who are looking for ways to make change.
Over the course of this month as you’ve immersed yourself in some of the ideas of Everyday Advocacy, you may have tried (or at least thought about) a few new approaches to changing the public narrative about literacy education—starting at your own local level. What is probably clear at this point is this:
Advocacy works best when you are reflective and forward thinking about how make change—rather than merely reactive to a particular incident or issue.
One way to move from being reactive to being forward thinking is to understand the difference between strategy and tactics, the essential components of an action plan. An action plan asks you to first articulate your strategy (that is, how you will effectively tell your message to a particular audience in order to effect particular results) and then to figure out the tactics (that letter to the representative, that testimony at a school board, that district-distributed video, that school-wide literacy day, etc.) that will help that strategy be successful.
An action plan asks you to think about your allies, the decision-makers in your school, and your short term and long term goals. An action plan, in other words, is the blueprint to help you create the kind of sustained changed that really will make a difference.
As this month of advocacy comes to a close, read through the section on action plans and see the plans that some other teachers have developed. Start to think about how the issue you’ve identified might turn into an action plan and how that action plan might lead to change.
And then consider sharing your story in the comments section below. The more teachers share their stories of how they have become everyday advocates, the more this movement can gather steam. Join us in the journey!