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Writing to Influence People Outside of the Education Community

The people at the Center for Teaching Quality know that writing is a powerful medium for influencing people outside of the education community. They know that research has shown that the majority of Americans have “trust and confidence in teachers” (PDK/Gallup 2014), and they believe that teachers should leverage the public’s confidence to advocate for policies that support best practices in the classroom and across the school system.

In this TeachingPartners Live Collaborative, I make use of all the Center for Teaching Quality knows and all I have learned personally to help teachers get their personal narratives on public schools and teaching beyond the echo chamber of other teachers. I believe that educators need to do more than preach to the choir if the transformations for which they advocate are to be realized.

I facilitate participants’ development of a plan first for authoring content, then for engaging editors at publishing outlets to reach mass audiences, and finally for navigating editorial relationships in order to get published.

To make the most of this archived webinar, take a moment to take a look at materials collected here at the working group established for our workshop. And while you’re here, take a minute now to add a post to the Workgroup Feed. You post will be shared with me but also with other teachers who have viewed this webinar in an effort to improve their practice. Our Workgroup Feed keeps workshop participants connected via real-time summary of ideas, suggestions, and resources unique to our workshop.

And, although I believe that the practices I am presenting are great skills for every teacher to have to advocate for the policies he or she believes in, thanks to the Center for Teaching Quality it is also possible for you to earn a micro-credential for your participation in this TeachingPartners Live Collaborative. Check out the other tabs on this page to find out more about how you can earn a micro-credential that verifies the skills discussed in this Collaborative.


Kristoffer Kohl

Prior to joining CTQ, Kristoffer served as a Teach for America corps member in the Las Vegas Valley, teaching fifth grade and completing a master’s degree in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He also wor... Full Bio

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Earning a Micro-Credential from the Center for Teaching Quality

Although I believe that the practices I am presenting are great skills for every teacher to have to advocate for the policies he or she believes in, thanks to the Center for Teaching Quality it is also possible for you to earn a micro-credential for your participation in this TeachingPartners Live Collaborative.

In fact, even if you missed this Collaborative when it happened, you can still earn professional learning credit you can share with your school or district by demonstrating. your competency in this practice.

To demonstrate your competency first view the archived webinar here at TeachingPartners and then use what you learn to create a piece of writing that you believe has the potential to influence people outside of the education community.

Then, you can apply to the Center for Teaching Quality to receive your micro-credential by submitting a document in which you:

  • Respond to two overview questions, designed to help CTQ understand the specific aims of your writing.
  • Provide evidence of your writing—something you’ve written to influence colleagues within the past 24 months.
  • Reflect on the aims and outcomes of your efforts.

The detailed requirements for this application are presented within the Requirements tab as part of this workgroup. Download this PDF, Requirements for Writing to Influence People Outside the Education Community, to explore even more fully what’s required to receive your micro-credential for this practice.

When you’re ready, send your submission to us at microcredential@teachingpartners.com. We’ll confirm receipt right away and share your submission with the Center of Teaching Quality, which will consider it based on the rubric presented in the PDF referenced above.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a Proficient or Exemplary evaluation in all four categories for Part 2 and a Passing for Parts 1 and 3.

Part 1. Overview questions
(500-word limit total for both)

  • What prompted you to write this piece? Please describe the conversations, current events, or other publications that inspired you to create this piece.
  • Who is your audience? Describe the specific group you targeted with as much detail as possible.

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts
Submit a piece of writing in one of the following forms: a link to an online document available to colleagues, an image documenting written conversation with colleagues, or a PDF of a published piece that has been shared with colleagues. This document should have the goal of influencing colleagues to make changes in their practice or take action on a specific issue. Example topics might include new initiatives, valuable programs, innovative technologies, assessment practices, or policy changes. Writing must have been published in the past 24 months.

Your artifact submission will be assessed on the following rubric. You must score a Proficient or Exemplary score on this portion of the submission in order to earn the micro-credential.

Part 3. Reflection
Submit a reflection answering the following prompts. Your reflection can be submitted in EITHER of the following formats:

  • Link to a published, publicly viewable video (4-minute limit)
  • Written response saved as a PDF (1,000-word limit)


  • Identify 2–3 specific choices (i.e., length, formatting, word choice, incorporated support, publication platform) you made that helped to influence one or more colleagues more effectively. Explain these choices and how they affected this audience.
  • What outcomes do you expect your publication to achieve? What is your plan for achieving these outcomes? How would you define success for this publication?
  • To what degree have you achieved your outcomes thus far? Cite specific examples, if possible.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


Take advantage of this supporting research and the references and support recommended in support of the Center for Teaching Quality’s micro-credential.

Supporting Research

Purdue Owl Writing Resources. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University offers an array of writing resources and instructional material. The following links offer explanations and examples of a variety of writing strategies and skills that are essential for influencing an audience.

Digital Writing 101: Handbooks & Articles on Writing for Web Audiences by Amy Goodloe. This online resource compiles blog post and short web articles on a variety of skills relevant to digital writing and online publication. The first set of links is most useful to address formatting and style for online publications. http://newmediawriting.net/content/resources-on-writing-for-web-audiences/

Five Basic Tips for Digital Media by International Journalists Network. Another web article about how to write to an online audience. This one offers some quick tips to “improve your writing for the Internet,” but focuses mainly on formatting and organizing text. https://ijnet.org/en/stories/how-improve-your-writing-internet

Teaching that Sticks by Chip and Dan Heath. Borrowing from the content of their best-selling book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, this short article focuses on the six traits that “make ideas stickier,” including storytelling, establishing credibility, and offering concrete images to illustrate abstract concepts. Although it’s not specifically about writing, this resource will help you frame the message for your audience. http://heathbrothers.com/download/mts-teaching-that-sticks.pdf

The SUCCESS Model by Chip and Dan Heath. This simple graphic summarizes the principles of “Teaching that Sticks” in a one-page visual format that would be great to print out and keep close when writing to influence an audience. http://heathbrothers.com/download/mts-made-to-stick-model.pdf

“Made to Stick” Keynote by Chip and Dan Heath. This presentation offers content similar to “Teaching that Sticks” and the SUCCESS poster, but it dives more deeply into the ideas from Made to Stick and offers a summary of the book’s key concepts in an hour-long talk. https://vimeo.com/5079830

Stories That Matter by Marshall Ganz. “The initial challenge for an organizer—or anybody who’s going to provide leadership for change—is to figure out how to break through the inertia of habit to get people to pay attention. . . . We don’t just talk about hope and other values in abstractions. We talk about them in the language of stories because stories are what enable us to communicate these values to one another.” Click to read this three-page article from a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University. http://bit.ly/1JjLP0p

On Writing Well by William Zinsser. “Zinsser’s book On Writing Well provides both a comprehensive guide to writing nonfiction and a useful writer’s reference. He starts with an overview of the writing craft and moves into specific nonfiction writing forms. The book wraps up with the important attitudes that good writers develop.” http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-on-writing-well/#gsc.tab=0

Exemplars of Writing to a Colleague Audience

To access more exemplars and writing support, join the conversation at the Center for Teaching Quality’s (CTQ) Collaboratory Communication Lab, http://www.teachingquality.org/about, http://www.teachingquality.org/content/communications-lab