In this time of tight money, we might want to rethink how we advocate for our programs. The old show-them- the-wonderful projects has to give way to more academic proof. We have to go beyond just test scores or state tests.
Let’s look at Foreign Language as an example.
Traditionally, teachers have invited principals and other administrators in for special culture events such as a “Cinco de Mayo” celebration.
However, here are some more convincing ways of advocating.
– Have a principal or other administrator time as students talk for two minutes in the language about a picture.
– Print out a list of all the language skills that the students in your classroom presently have achieved such as “can ask and answer questions about major businesses in town” and “can elaborate when asked questions”. Word them as “Can do” statements instead of the official syllabus descriptions. Do not list the chapters covered in the textbook!
– At a Board of Education meeting, have your students talk in the target language with someone who speaks that language natively either in a face-to-face conversation or a videoconference conversation.
– In cooperation with the local Chamber of Commerce, have your language students produce signs in the target language for local businesses. Have part of the sign say something like, “Produced by Foreign Language Students at ……”
Each of these moves from the advocacy of talking about the benefits of language study to the advocacy of the students performing in the second language.
How do you plan to advocate for your program?
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.
Also, my book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.