This Sunday (Nov. 23, 2014) the OAGC Teacher’s Division will be hosting another tweetchat. The topic is Effective Advocacy. They have an awesome featured guest, Jeanne Bernish (@JeanneBernish). You can check out the discussion questions here.
As I prepare for to moderate this chat, I began to ponder what does it mean to be an effective advocate? I came up with three aspects of advocacy that will help all of us be more effective.
It is important to know the student or students you are advocating for. One of the best things we can do for our students is to know them. We need to continually build relationships with students so we can help them get the best educational experience possible. Not only do we need to build relationships with students, but having a relationship with parents is also just as important. We need to remember that parents know their children. They have an exclusive look into their private lives that we don’t have. Parents see things differently about their child than we do. We need to tap into that resource. Their input is just as important as student input.
One aspect of being an advocate is gathering resources to help gifted children. Those resources could be anything from websites, books, counselors, teachers, administrators, social media connections, and experts. Making connections through Twitter, Facebook groups, or at conferences that you attend will give you more resources to pull out when you need to advocate for a student. Talk to people, and find out what they are doing. Continually research social, emotional, and educational connections in your community, and in your school and see how they can help gifted children.
Be Available…”Be That Guy”
Be the teacher that when it comes to advocating for gifted children, you are resource people go to. Make yourself available to other teachers. If possible participate in planning lessons for students, and give suggestions to regular education teachers on how to accommodate advanced learners in their classroom. Have a collection of resources at your fingertips to offer to teachers, parents, and students. Use things like Evernote or Dropbox to create share able folders to give to teachers, parents, and students is a great way to be available. Also the use of Diigo, an on-line bookmarking tool that allows you create folders is also a great way to share resources.
If we do those three things we can be an effective advocate. I am continually trying to be a better advocate for gifted students in my building and in my community. I am not perfect, and I don’t have all the resources. But I am trying.
What three aspects of advocacy do you think is important? What are your top three resources that you use with parents, teachers and students?