Improve Performance by Promoting Self-Advocacy September 23, 2018 11:14

Being one's own advocate is very powerful in a classroom where there at more students than teachers. It's the self-advocate that gets the best education. Having weaknesses is a part of being human, but sharing them with those who are responsible for your education is very powerful. 

Yesterday, a colleague retold a story of one of my students who is in her math class. She asked her students to share information about themselves that would help be a better teacher for them. My little guy quietly pulled her aside and said, "I am not comfortable writing this down now." She reassured him he could take it home and put it in an envelop and bring it in the next day. He asked if he could speak to her outside. "I want you to know that I have a problem with making eye contact with people. I don't want you to think I am not listening, but I am."

When students advocate for themselves they show their teaches that they care. If permitted to try different strategies, students quickly determine their best place to complete work, the best way for them listen to directions, or strategies they have found successful to allow them to write their best compositions. 

Here are a few ways students can advocate for themselves:

  • Share the best place to sit in the class
  • Ask for words to be written on the board when new vocabulary is introduced in a foreign language
  • Question answers are marked wrong on a test or assignment and provide reasons for the answers given
  • Ask for clarification if directions are unclear
  • Ask for clarification if instruction is unclear
  • Ask to take test earlier if teachers of different class have assigned tests on the same day
  • Bring awareness to teachers when too many projects are due on the same day
  • Express learning difficulties and strategies that have been found to be successful