The #iwla15 keynote message, by Noah Geisel (@SenorG), was called Leading with Language/Keeping it Real: Reaching Global Competence through Authenticity. There were many great points made throughout the presentation; however, there was one that stood out to me: advocacy.
Noah had many great ideas about how teachers can advocate. One of Noah’s ideas was to speak in front of your state congress on issues that we world language educators are facing – especially if you do not have a representative whose job is to do this! Another idea was to create and share a guest speaker registry. Of course, he also included ACTFL’s Advocacy sites. When you sign up, ACTFL will email you when relevant issues arise. It’s as easy as simply adding your name to the bottom, or you can customize the resource that ACTFL sends you on the issue. I loved his idea of teacher field trips, but sadly have never heard of such a thing. I wish those were something that would catch on with administrators!
However, the golden advocacy idea is to have your students advocate for you. This is something my mentor, Larry Pace, has taught me as well. It’s always more impressive when your students tell the story for you.
Here is one student advocacy idea for you to try out: on a whiteboard or a piece of paper, have students write #WhyITakeSpanish. Beneath, students write why they are taking Spanish. Take a picture of the student with their reason(s). You can then tweet the images out on a school account (make sure you know if you have permission from the parents/guardians, school officials, etc.), put them on the school website, or put them in the school newsletter with an article about the benefits of taking/learning another language. I did the last option and it was a big hit at my school. Students loved seeing themselves in the paper, and the community loves seeing academic news included.
I found this idea on Jenna Cohen’s (@) Twitter page, so please make sure to give her credit if you use/share it!