What is Advocacy?

What is Advocacy?

Unfortunately, the concept of advocacy is often misunderstood. Simply put, Advocacy is “Educating others and/or conveying an opinion."

Advocacy is what you do when you are actively supporting a cause. Although advocacy is often compared to public relations, it is quite different. When teachers advocate for an issue, they are committed to providing information to stakeholder groups that will build support for their vision. They also recognize the importance of building networks and alliances that will support their efforts.

In her recent blog, author Barbara R. Blackburn states that “Everyone is an advocate, whether you recognize it or not. We advocate for our favorite teams, political candidates and, of course, we advocate for our schools and the resources and programs vital to the success of our students.” We advocate each and every day when we teach our classes, represent our department, talk with parents, and talk with administrators. However, many of us do not think of ourselves as advocates or find ourselves so overwhelmed that we forget our role as advocates.

As advocates, we want to make sure we are always offering quality Health and Physical Education classes that are standards-based, well-planned and meaningful for our students. What you do and what you say speaks volumes about the significant impact of Health and Physical Education. Hopefully, students pick up on that and in turn talk with friends and parents about their positive experiences your class has provided for them.

When representing our department at meetings such as Curriculum Council, School Board, Faculty, Home and School meetings we need to be good advocates for our profession at all times.

To be a successful advocate for HPE, you need to:

  • Recognize your role and importance as an advocate
  • Communicate effectively
  • Educate yourself! Stay up to date with current issues as well as federal and state requirements on the laws, rules, guidelines, and legislation for HPE

As Health and Physical Educators, we need to be the best we can in our profession. All of us need to advocate, stand together and speak with one voice. Visit our advocacy page for more tips and tricks of the trade. 

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