Earning a “Writing to Influence Policymakers” Micro-credential

Wendi Pillars, of the Center for Teaching Quality, shares how you can earn a CTQ's "Writing to Influence Policy Makers" Micro-credential

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Welcome to My TeachingPartners Live Collaborative

The people at the Center for Teaching Quality know that writing is a powerful medium for influencing policy makers. 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.

In this TeachingPartners Live Collaborative, I make use of all the Center for Teaching Quality knows and all I have learned personally to facilitate participants’ development of a written piece that they can use to engage policymakers and move them to action.

I walk through the ways in which effective writing uses specific methods to capture the audience’s attention, validate readers’ concerns, acknowledge their values, and connect with their emotions. I also address how different writing formats have the potential to reach audiences of different sizes, and the ways in which specific channels are more appropriate than others for different issues.

Specifically, I focus on:

  1. Introducing or supporting ideas through powerful storytelling about student success and compelling anecdotes that give a personal angle on policy decisions
  2. Promoting the credibility of the author and his or her sources
  3. Framing the message through the lens of the policy maker’s values, needs, and emotional sensibilities
  4. Keeping communication concise to promote further dialogue
  5. Connecting to the audience through specific word choice that acknowledges readers’ values, needs, and priorities
  6. Avoiding insider jargon, such as highly technical terms or education-specific acronyms that could cause confusion or distract from a call to action
  7. Using inductive and deductive reasoning to craft powerful arguments
  8. Referencing data and research that validate the connection between an idea and positive outcomes for students or the educational community
  9. Incorporating visual components (graphs, tables, images, or charts) to reinforce ideas, arguments, and calls to action

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.

Wendi Pillars is a National Board Certified teacher who has been teaching students with English as a second/foreign language needs in grades K-12, both stateside and overseas, for 19 years. She has also taught Algebra, History, vo... Full Bio