Literacy, Leadership, and Advocacy

By: Eileen Shanahan, Ph.D., assistant professor, EKU College of Education

Eastern Kentucky University’s literacy master of arts in education degree (MAED) and endorsement programs are now offering a new leadership course! EMS 876: Literacy, Leadership, and Advocacy will help prepare students for leadership, coaching, and mentoring roles in the areas of literacy instruction. Through a variety of course activities, students will take on the role of teacher leaders by supporting other practicing teachers with their literacy instructional needs. These activities will help students identify literacy needs in their school and improve all students’ literacy development and achievement, in particular those students who come from marginalized and under-served groups.

This course is designed as a way for students to gain clinical experiences specifically with literacy coaching. The readings and tasks each week focus on different aspects of literacy coaching frameworks and various models of literacy leadership. Students will work with each other via Screencast videos to submit needs and goals for improvement that they have related to their own literacy teaching. They will then research and present ideas to help their peers with their instructional goals, thus acting as literacy coaches for each other. Other tasks include analyzing case studies of other literacy coaches and creating an instructional toolbox of literacy strategies to meet the needs of diverse students. Finally, students will take on a leadership role in a professional organization or their local community to advocate for quality literacy instruction and ensure that their voices are heard beyond the four walls of the classroom. As we are in a time when public education is under attack in our state and nation, it is especially important that our candidates can offer research, experiences, and narratives that work to counter the anti-education rhetoric that often circulates in the media.

This course enhances the literacy MAED and endorsement programs by providing students the necessary knowledge to develop and implement strategies to advocate for equity for all students’ success, demonstrate cultural competence in addressing needs, and fully understand the local, state, and national policy decisions related to literacy in order to act on them. Students will build a strong foundation of knowledge on literacy leadership and to use that knowledge to serve as informed advocates for authentic literacy instruction that meets the needs of all learners.

Published on November 06, 2019