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Advocacy as Capacity Building: Creating a Movement through Collaborative Inquiry

Short_Kathy-This text is excerpted from The Council Chronicle (March 2016), in which Kathy G. Short summarized thoughts from her 2015 NCTE Presidential Address, delivered at the NCTE Annual Convention in Minneapolis.  Read the full Address in Research in the Teaching of English (Feb 2016). 

. . . Advocacy builds from our knowledge and experiences to meet the needs that we have identified in our classrooms and in the conditions that influence our teaching.

Advocacy depends on and builds collaborative relationships within a professional community that is knowledgeable and respected.

In order to be effective at advocacy, however, we need tools and strategies to ensure that our voices are heard at local, state, and national levels.

Advocacy also involves the willingness to critique existing conditions, to see below the surface, and to imagine other possibilities, through hope, before moving to action.

Based on critique and hope, we can then act to make a difference. We need a critical eye and a hopeful heart to create change.

Kathy G. Short was NCTE president from 2014 to 2015 and is a professor at the University of Arizona, Tucson.


“When you disagree with someone, how do you still engage in a productive discussion instead of dismissing that person?” In these two YouTube clips, Kathy  Short comments on her experiences at NCTE’s Advocacy Day.