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How to Teach Self Advocacy Skills to Elementary Students in 2022

If you are an elementary teacher looking to learn how to help your students self advocate independently, then you found the right place! Self advocacy skills prepare kids to face dilemmas and solve problems. Students who are able to advocate for themselves are more independent than students who cannot. In this post, we’ll go into detail about what self advocacy is and why it’s important. In addition, we’ll share tips and ideas for how to teach self advocacy skills in an elementary classroom setting. Read all about helping students advocate for themselves in and out of the classroom below!

What Does Self Advocacy Mean?

Self advocacy means being able to effectively communicate one’s own interests, needs and wants. A person who can self advocate can represent their own views and opinions in a way that is assertive. That means they can healthily express themselves in a way that is honest and respectful. 

Why is it Important for Kids to Advocate for Themselves?

It is important for kids to understand advocacy because it teaches them the skills to stand up for themselves and be assertive while talking to others. Teaching students to advocate for themselves also makes them more confident and comfortable solving their own problems and facing adversity. 

How Do I Know If I Need to Teach Self Advocacy in My Classroom?

The students in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade classroom would benefit from self advocacy lessons and activities if any of these statements are true:

  • Students are constantly tattling on each other.
  • Students come to you at the first sign of trouble.
  • They do not attempt to solve their own problems first before going to an adult. 
  • Students either talk too aggressively or passively with each other.
  • Students struggle with receiving feedback from each other. 

5 Reasons To Promote Self Advocacy In Your Elementary Classroom

Below are 5 reasons to promote self advocacy in your elementary classroom.

1. Students can calmly state their needs. 

Students who can self advocate and identify the problem they are having and calmly state what they need without yelling and without crying. They can also state their needs to each other instead of relying on their teacher. 

2. Students will become more independent problem solvers.

When a child can advocate for themselves, they are more capable of solving their own problems. Students who are comfortable standing up for themselves and others are more confident when facing adversity, than students who do not have advocacy skills. Children are more likely to attempt to solve their problems first before going to an adult when they have these skills. 

3. Students can stand up for what is right. 

Advocacy means publicly expressing views and wishes. Students who advocate have the skills to stand up for what is right by stating their views and wants. They feel brave enough to speak up when they notice someone is being treated unfairly. 

4. Students are less willing to give into peer pressure. 

When students learn to advocate, they stand up for themselves and others. This protects them from giving in to peer pressure because they know the difference between right and wrong and have the skills to say something when unfairness is at play. Students who self advocate are more willing to do what is right instead of what is easy and what others want them to do. 

5. Advocacy builds confidence! 

Having advocacy naturally builds confidence in kids because it teaches them that they have the power to say yes or no and they are the only ones who have control over themselves. When students can advocate they can stand up for themselves and others which requires confidence. It teaches students to look within themselves instead of going to others to solve problems for them. 

5 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Advocacy

Below are tips and ideas for teaching advocacy!

1. Read Aloud Picture Books about Advocacy

Picture books are a great way to introduce and teach an SEL topic. It gets students thinking about the topic and activating their background knowledge. Check out this list of picture books for teaching advocacy!

2. Watch Videos about Advocacy

There are tons of free online videos out there that promote social emotional learning. It’s a fun and engaging way to teach SEL skills that your students will enjoy. Check out these videos for teaching self advocacy!

Vocabulary words can help students develop understanding of advocacy and create connections through related words. Our Advocacy SEL unit includes ten vocabulary cards with words related to the SEL topic. It is important for students to be able to see, hear, and use relevant vocabulary while learning. One idea for how to use them is to create an SEL word wall as students learn the words.

4. Provide Practice Opportunities

When learning any skill, students need time to practice. Social emotional learning skills are no different! Our Advocacy SEL unit includes scenario cards, discussion cards, choice boards, games, and much more. These provide students with opportunities to practice the skills independently, with partners or small groups, or as a whole class.

5. Integrate Other Content Areas

Integrating other content areas with this topic is a great way to approach this SEL topic. Our Advocacy SEL unit includes reading, writing, and art activities.

Advocacy SEL UnitSocial Emotional Learning Units Bundle

In closing, we hope you found this information about teaching advocacy helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts.

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