by Amanda Rollins, Japanese Language Program Coordinator
When I first heard the word "advocacy" in connection with Japanese language, I was confused. Did I have to talk to lawyers?
Now I know that advocacy is an ongoing process that Japanese language teachers do in order to spread awareness about their school’s Japanese program. After all, if nobody knows that you hold fun Japan-related events, nobody will come. If your students don’t know that more than 49,000 Americans are living and working in Japan, they might not consider doing it themselves. If parents don’t know that Japan is America’s fourth largest trading partner, they might not think that Japanese would be a good skill for their child’s future career. If administrators don’t know that your school’s students are having a blast learning Japanese, they might not support it enthusiastically.
Teachers are often the center of advocacy, although they can recruit others (including parents and students) to help them. And the spread of the internet is making it easier than ever to share information with people outside of your school.
For an introduction to advocacy, please check out JFLA’s new What is Advocacy page. It talks about local advocacy as well as advocacy on the state and national levels, with plenty of links to get you started promoting your program.
Don’t forget to check out JFLA’s SPEAKJAPAN.org! This might be the easiest way to advocate – just share the link!