How to be Part of the Education Conversation

There are a number of ways to be an education advocate. Facilitating or encouraging change is definitely one of them.

Communicating, getting support for change, and making that change happen can be a bit of an art. Especially because we’re asking others to be part of it.

Here are some ways to make this easier.

Get their ear.

Communicating is perhaps the most important tool in advocacy. It’s more than just having a voice and speaking up.

As parents and education advocates, we must let others know what’s important to us and why – AND be ready to listen to the their concerns.

It’s a conversation.

Use “We” instead of “You.”

If we’re wanting change, we can’t just criticize. We need to offer ideas of what that change could look like.

The difference between being an advocate for change and being a complainer is this:

  • Complainer – “I don’t like this. YOU need to do something about it.”
  • Change advocate – “I have concerns about this. This is why. I think these changes may help. I think this is a way we might be able to make that happen. What do you think?”

Being an advocate comes with having ideas of what TO DO and HOW to change, rather than just criticizing what IS.

Be an advocate (and not a complainer).

It’s important to know what we want before talking to others about it. Being unhappy with what is currently happening in education is the first step.

From there, ask yourself what specifically you don’t like. What could replace this that would be more effective, appropriate, or helpful? How could that transition occur? Who’s involved and what will that change look like for them? How will they handle the transition to this change?

You don’t need to completely answer all these before starting a conversation about educational change. But keep those questions in mind. Be willing to offer ideas on them.

It can go a long way in getting others to listen.

Be patient with the process of change.

Many parents and teachers know the benefit of shifting the focus in the schools. They want to get away from memorization and performance on standardized tests. They want to move toward learning ideas and understanding concepts.

But that’s a tall order.

For a broad change like this to occur, there must be (near) unanimous support. There must be a sense that this change is not only helpful, but is needed and required.

Convincing people who are married to the “traditional” way of the teaching/learning method can take time.

Make the change easier for others.

Advocating for change isn’t just pushing for it or convincing others that it needs to happen. It is important to support those who will be a part of that change.

Help teachers and administrators understand you’ll be around to support those changes. Let them know you don’t expect them to do all the work. Then they’ll be more willing to support and make those changes happen.

Talk to everyone.

You never know where you’re going to find the ally – or someone ready to consider something new.

And start here. What do you think? How will you start the conversation?


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