Strengthening Students’ Interest and Skills in Advocacy in the Social Policy Course

Subject: Education
Pages: 22
Words: 6115
Reading time:
24 min
Study level: PhD

Abstract

This research paper presents the various salient theories and approaches for instructions in the area of advocacy in social policy. These schools of thought have different authors and are applicable in various aspects of advocacy. Different advocacy theories emphasize the application of different skills. There are various forms of policy advocacy. These include budget advocacy, bureaucratic advocacy, express and issues advocacy, health advocacy, ideological advocacy, interest-group advocacy, legislative advocacy, mass advocacy, and media advocacy.

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The paper further conducts a research on the topic under scrutiny to determine the various strategies that have been put in place to strengthen students’ interest and skills in advocacy in the social policy course. However, there are various aspects of advocacy that have never been appreciated by both teachers and students of advocacy.

One of the most appreciated areas is that advocacy requires peoples’ innovative skills. The paper therefore analyzes the role of innovation as a strategy to strengthen students’ interest in the social policy class. Most the institutions will therefore teach their students on how to acquire and learn social skills. However, with the modern market of advocacy, learners need to know that specific skills in a certain area of advocacy are essential. For example, when undertaking health advocacy, a student with background knowledge on health matters will perform better than his or her counterparts who have no knowledge on the issue. Learners therefore must be trained on specific advocacy skills in the social policy courses.

Introduction

Advocacy skills are among the basic skills taught in the social policy course. The ability to speak for a course depends on the individuals’ expertise in presentation skills. Such expertise is therefore a major prerequisite in any social policy class. It is factual that business ideas do not talk, social agendas do not speak for themselves, political manifestos do not talk, and community policies do not speak for themselves. It is therefore important for an advocate of a good course to speak or deliver the ideas of those who cannot speak for themselves. A good idea is just an idea until somebody brings it out for action.

The question that needs to be answered is whether any strategy can be applied to students to strengthen their interest and skills in advocacy in a social policy class. Therefore, it is also important to raise such important issues in the society from where students come. Some individuals and groups in advocacy classes have ignored the influence of the political systems and their response to the needs of people. Individuals, groups, or classes engaging in advocacy lessons need to know that advocacy skills and people need to be very inclusive and engaging to all.

It is also important for policy advocates to know that it is not enough to advocate for social approval ’how it is’ of a problem and/or to expose social injustices. Rather, it is important to propose policy solutions to problems in terms of ‘how it needs to be’.

Advocacy ought to have an impact on the students’ life. It needs to open up space to begin debating and arguing about a certain idea, action, or policy. Advocacy skills that students get in social policy classes ought to elicit both emotions and actions. For policy advocacy to yield the right results, the advocates of a certain issue are required to have skills and knowledge in that area. Therefore, as the paper reveals, it is important not only to train students on how to develop interest and advocacy skills but also to train them on the various forms of advocacy for them to be a good future advocates.

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Theories

There are four main theories that have been put forward on advocacy in social policy. They include the large leaps theory or the punctuated equilibrium theory, coalition framework or coalition theory, agenda setting theory or policy windows theory, and the prospects theory. These theories have similarities and differences in appeal. The “large leaps” theory is also referred to as the punctuated equilibrium theory that was put forward by Jones in 1972 (Chang, Bordia, and Duck, 2003).

According to the theory, significant changes in policy can only happen when the right conditions are applied. The punctuated equilibrium theory also has the idea that important changes in institutions can only happen when the right conditions are in place. Institutions cannot change by themselves. They need proper facilitation through planning, mechanization, supervision, motivation, appraisals, and reward. Similarly, there is need for certain conditions to be rightfully positioned for students’ success to be sure. Huck-ju (2007) confirms how the theory likens its approach on advocacy and students’ to seismic evolution shifts, which involve making huge and drastic moves towards change.

Advocacy aims at achieving change in the society. The punctuated equilibrium theory targets ‘leap’ or big changes. The speculation is applicable especially when an individual student, group, or institutions want large-scale change in social policies. This theory is also capable of driving strong media attention. Since the media targets mass audience, the punctuated equilibrium theory makes use of it. This theory can be used to appeal to a whole class or even the world at large since it is focused on the masses, as it makes use of mass media tools that have a wide reach.

In a similar way, the large leaps theory highly relies on public speaking skills like the coalition theory of Sabatier Jernkins 1980 (Kim and Roh 2008).Public-speaking skills are essential in the application of this theory. It is also important for the policy advocate to understand his or her students well. Proper understanding of students enables the advocacy team to correctly plan and package their work.

It requires a clear understanding of the social, political, and economic background of students in order to influence and boost their interest through advocacy. Bergan and Risner (2012) assert that when using different media to appeal to the masses, it is important to understand its reach and frequency of appeal. The other focus of the large leaps theory is that there must be right conditions for a policy drive to succeed. Different policies require different conditions of application and delivery. The conditions necessary for a certain policy must be put in place for its success.

Another advocacy theory that is closely related to large leaps theory is Advocacy Coalition Framework or ‘Coalition’. Sabatier Jernkins put the coalition theory of advocacy forward in 1980 (Kim & Roh, 2008). Matti and Sandström (2013) state that advocacy coalition theory emphasizes coordinated activity among students with similar policy beliefs. Weible, Sabatier, and McQueen (2009) reveal how coalition advocacy theory encourages students to work as a team.

In both large leaps and coalition theory, the need for coordination and agreement among the advocates is crucial. According to Leifeld (2013), coalition theory persuades students with the same advocacy goal to begin by ironing out their differences before embarking on the goal of project. Unity of purpose is a major determinant of their success. Every tutor in the advocacy drive must speak the same message to the students.

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The advocacy team in coalition and large leaps theories is therefore supposed to bury its differences whenever it is out to advocate for a policy change. Opposition and differences from one member is likely to result in partial or complete failure of the advocacy goals. Leifeld (2013) observes that in most cases the coalition theory approach achieves success when there is a sympathetic administration in office. Support from major policy makers enables the advocacy groups or students applying this theory to achieve success.

Moreover, Huck-ju (2007) affirms that if policymakers in an office are sympathetic to the advocacy group, there is likelihood that their appeal will be implemented. The coalition theory is also applicable in instances where a common, united, and strong group of allies is easy to form. The allied group of advocates must have a common goal. Similar to the large leaps theory, there needs to be a common need to achieve a similar goal. In such cases, the advocacy purpose is likely to yield high results. Similarity in policy is crucial in the application of coalition theory of advocacy.

Matti and Sandström (2013) argue that the leader of the advocacy group must have the ability to coordinate all the activities of students in order for them to achieve success in their undertaking. Each student in the coalition has to understand the policy in order to speak a similar message with other students since every team player works hard to achieve the group’s goals.

Another theory of advocacy in social policy is the “agenda-setting theory” or “policy windows theory of advocacy”. However, policy windows theory differs from large leaps theory although it has some similarities with coalition theory. According to this theory, policies can be changed within a particular window of opportunity through the application of various components of the social policy course. The policy window theory is based on the idea that the definition of the problem in question is likely to determine the kind of solution to be achieved.

The agenda for changing the policy can be determined by the method by which the advocates package the problem and/or define its solutions. Wrong identification of the problem will also result in wrong problem solution. Consequently, the answers to the policy problem are also likely to be wrong. The message to be spread through the advocacy activities is a major determinant of whether students will respond to appeal or they will ignore it.

According to Shanahan, Jones, and McBeth (2011), a good message is as important as its intention. The message must clearly define where the problem is and drive the audience to the solutions in a systematic way.

Such as in the coalition theory, advocates in policy window need to ensure that the students understand the message and the need for change in policy. In a similar way to the coalition theory, policy windows ensure that the policy window is opened through brainstorming and comparison of alternatives, hence giving the advocate an opportunity to change the problem definition to achieve better success. The agenda setting theory of advocacy can be applied in different situations. This theory can address different policy streams in a simultaneous manner. Policy streams are the subdivisions of a main policy. They are followed during the implementation of the main idea.

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According to Shanahan, Jones, and McBeth (2011), a good policy stream can undertake the course of problem definition, set solutions to the policy in question, and influence the environment. The agenda setting theory makes use of internal capacity in creating, identifying, and acting on the policy issues. According to this theory, advocacy is not a single undertaking but a process with various steps. This claim is different from the large leaps theory, which aims at making huge differences at a time. The success of an advocacy problem will highly depend on the initial approach to the problem. Therefore, problem definition will influence the achievement of the policy solution especially when students are trained on how to properly define and identify the policy issues.

Another theory of advocacy that is applicable to the social policy class to heighten students’ interest is the prospect theory. This theory is also regarded to as the messaging and frameworks theory. The prospect theory holds that the presentation and framing of policies will affect the way individuals will be willing to accept them. According to the messaging frameworks theory and the coalition theory, different students will prefer messages that relate to the knowledge that they already have and hence the need to derive a connection between knowledge and the problem. The tone of packaging that an advocate adopts will influence the students’ acceptance and interest of the message. Choice of words will also influence acceptance of message by the target audience.

According to Vance (2013), advocates of social policy must be trained to use appealing words to influence. Students want to hear things such as “success, new, better, life changing, nourishing, quenching, stress free, fresh, just arrived”, and so on. However, negative words may have an opposite impact. Such words mark a successfully framed message. The prospect theory emphasizes framing. Unlike the large leaps theory, framing theory appeals to the students’ existing knowledge. Flynn (2012) affirms that every student will connect the advocacy message with what exists in his or her brains. Previous knowledge forms the basis on which the current information is interpreted.

Research

The success of advocacy pedagogy is informed by various researches. One of the major researchers in advocacy is Michael Harrington. This researcher carried out various empirical advocacy researches on social problems that faced America in 1960s. Harrington advocated for the elimination of oppressive federal policies on poverty eradication and establishment of proper antipoverty policies. However, despite the increased need for research in the field of advocacy and policymaking, Chapman et al. (2012) observed that advocacy groups have been exaggerating their research findings to increase public and government sympathy.

For example, Cheung (2013) alleged that the 1980s publication of claims that 50, 000 babies and small children are kidnapped by strangers in America every year was magnified. According to Crumpton (2013), it is also alleged that the inflated research reported by advocacy groups on social issues like abuse of old people, sexual molestation of children, and rape of women was a hyped work of advocacy.

According to Cheung (2013), exaggeration of research reports especially on matters that touch on human emotions may work for the advocacy group. However, such approaches are unethical and wrong. Professional advocates of social policies carry out empirical research to standardize the results. In research, truth is important. Numbers rarely lie especially when they are presented in an authentic manner. Advocacy research that is well authenticated can easily shape the coverage of the media and hence influence the social policies.

Studies on the prospect theory adaptation indicate that one can learn how to choose the right word for a certain social course. Chapman et al. (2012) observe that word choice will definitely influence acceptance of a message by the audience. People tend to like what confirms what they already know and affirms their beliefs. Through training, learners learn to appreciate the need to begin every advocacy process through research. Studies enable the advocate to frame messages in a way that the students can associate with what they already know.

It is possible to train people on awareness of their personal preferences, strengths, interests, and even limitations. Researchers have shown that most of people are not aware of their strengths and limitations towards achieving success.

According to Heidemann, Fertig, Jansson, and Kim (2011), it is through the right pedagogy that teachers can train social advocates on personal evaluation and appreciation. Learners are effectively trained that they need to be aware of who they are and what they want for themselves in life. The effectiveness of learning at this point is realized when learners begin to understand that no one hinders them from achieving their interests. Personal abilities are also realized through proper training. Social advocacy students are also trained on how to overcome personal and group limitations through persistence and assertiveness.

According to Frank et al. (2012), studies on the adaptation of the agenda setting theory of social policy advocacy indicate that training learners on how to define problems in an elaborate and clear way enables them to succeed in advocacy. Israel et al. (2010) argue that the success of advocacy depends on how well the advocate knows how to define the issue. When advocacy students learn how to define issues correctly, they are also able to get the right solutions to the issues. For example, Larrison and Korr (2013) affirm that it is only through the right pedagogy that learners in social policy advocacy class learn the differences between needs and wants. Proper understanding of the differences between the two enables the advocates to know what to request for and what to demand from the violators.

The pedagogy teaches learners that most of the needs are entrenched in the constitution and cannot be denied.Policy advocates must therefore never allow the state or individuals to violate their rights. On the other hand, wants are what the advocates and their community can do without. However, the advocates need to have the ability to influence masses to seek the right solutions to the problems. For example, learners are must be tough and know how to lobby for financial support in community projects.

Ingold and Varone (2012) assert that the effectiveness of the coalition school of thought can also be realized when learners appreciate that there must be coordinated activity among individuals with similar policy beliefs for a social change to be achieved. Learners are taught the skills that are necessary for negotiation and persuasion. Teamwork and group skills enable the social policy advocates to be effective in their undertaking. Social policy students learn the need to work together. As a result, their success is easily achieved.

Studies also show that policy advocacy has been faced with controversies of funding and the intention of the financiers. According to Frank et al. (2012), scientists and political analysts have questioned the interest of the financiers of social policy.

The interest of the sources of funding has also been accused of compromising the accuracy of social policy and its influence. Professionalism of social policy advocacy is also compromised when the policy advocates conceal their source of funding. Israel et al. (2010) argue that it is important for the social policy advocate to advocate for policies that are accurate, neutral, and relevant. For example, when addressing a policy issue such as legislation on abortion, the advocate must use accurate, relevant, and neutral statistics and recent examples. The advocates must be trained to be neutral in seeking for funds.

Innovation and Creativity in developing New and Unique Social Advocacy

Innovativeness is a key driving force in the success of social policy advocacy. Although various approaches to the pedagogy of social policy advocacy have been applied over the years, there are better ways for teaching this course. Students in social advocacy class must be trained on self-awareness skills. Ingold and Varone (2012) assert that it is important for social advocates to begin by realizing who they are before they can advocate for social issues.

At this level, learners need to be trained on how to appreciate what they want in life, individual strength, and their preferences. Such understanding will enable them to get into group advocacy with full information on what can bring about conflict of interest during the course of advocacy. Students ought to be trained on how to have big dreams and /or set goals in addition to group goals.

Learners can enhance innovation through running the tag ‘#’ on Twitter about the homemade rights or immigrants’ rights in Kuwait. Students need to observe the real people’s response and/or reflect upon it to make them realize how this problem is shaped in the Kuwaiti society together with how they are divided in their opinions and if there are patterns among their responses to start from to advocate on behalf of the oppressed and disadvantaged people. Innovation can also be achieved through asking students to do “needs assessment” approach for the neighborhood to recognize their needs and problems in a bid to begin advocating and participating in shaping policies

Flynn (2012) affirms that having the necessary skills in goal setting and dream actualization will drive learners towards the pursuit of individual and group goals in the course of advocacy. According to Heidemann, Fertig, Jansson, and Kim (2011), if students do not understand the subject of goals and/or how they are set, it may be difficult for them to achieve success in social advocacy. The individual and group goals are married and focused towards the achievement of a common goal. Learners in the advocacy class have to learn to appreciate others and/or to accommodate other learners and trainers with different interests, goals, and preferences.

Weible, Sabatier, and McQueen (2009) observe that social goals are likely to touch on a diverse group of people. In such a group, there exists diversity in social political and even economic interests. Finally, learners must be trained on how to acquire responsibility skills. Every advocate must be responsible in his or her words, actions, and thoughts (Bryan, 2006). Learners need to be responsible enough in the eyes of the public and towards themselves. Self-awareness will not be complete with learners having less information about their weaknesses. They need to be taught on how to appreciate and improve their weaknesses. Such personality traits are likely to hinder their success in social policy advocacy.

Gammonley, Smith Rotabi, Forte, and Martin (2013) argue that the second most important skill that learners in the social advocacy class must have is knowledge of their rights. Sanders et al. (2013) affirm that learners ought to be trained on personal rights together with how to defend them. They need to be taught that personal rights are granted by the constitution and must not be denied by any person or government whatsoever. Learners in the social advocacy course must be informed that their skills and interest would most likely be focused on fighting for or advocating for rights and freedom of individuals and groups.

Learners in the social policy class ought to be taught about community rights and/or how to appreciate them. Sanders et al. (2013) further assert that a proper understanding of human rights will equip the learners with the necessary knowledge and skills in community policy advocacy. It is not possible for learners to advocate for social policies that affect the community without proper knowledge and interest on community rights. Learners must also be taught on human rights.

Srikantiah and Koh (2010) argue that the social policy advocacy course has to equip learners with full knowledge and skills on human rights. Studies by Srikaniah and Koh (2012) further show that most of the advocacy programs that flop are those that are led by social advocates without previous knowledge about the issue at hand. Proper knowledge of human rights ought to be well trained during the social policy classes. Another important area of training and research that learners must be equipped with is consumer rights. In most places, manufacturers, wholesalers, and even retailers violate consumer rights. It is important that social advocates be trained on consumer rights to know how to advocate for the rights of the publics who are the consumers of business products and services.

According to Rehbein, Logsdon, and Buren (2013), learners need to know when their rights as consumers of various goods and services have been violated and the right direction that they need to take. Learners can also be trained on how to defend the rights of consumers through advocacy. Gammonley et al. (2013) affirm that students studying social advocacy ought to also have knowledge on educational rights. Proper understanding of educational rights must be emphasized. Learners ought to appreciate that educational rights of some children in the social stratum have been violated. Social policy advocates have the duty to speak for the innocent children whose educational rights have been trended down by violators.

Proper definition of these rights and freedom is a skill that every learner in the social policy class must possess. They need to have adequate knowledge on how to assess whether the rights of an individual or a group have been violated or not. After understanding the rights of different groups, researchers show that learners need to be trained on the right steps to follow when advocating for social policies in the society. Poor procedures and non-dimensional approaches to social policy have made many social policy advocates fail in their venture. Learners must learn and practice the step-to-step process of advocacy in the social policy subject.

It is also important that learners appreciate that social policy advocacy requires both resources and skills. It is therefore a necessity that learners learn how to lobby for support of their ideas or course of actions from masses. The planning step ought to be prioritized in the social policy advocacy program. However, learners need to appreciate that resources such as money must not be the determining factors in the success of a social policy. Leaders of a social policy advocacy campaign must also evaluate the knowledge bank that the group possesses in a certain area before commencing any action. Knowledge and skills in a particular area of specialization are important in carrying out a successful policy drive.

Studies in social policy advocacy by Kilbane, Pryce, and Hong (2013) put communication skills and knowledge at the helm of the program. Learners can be trained on various communication skills. Poor communication skills can result in a total failure of the advocacy program.

Every learner must be trained on how to be assertive before, during, and after the advocacy drive. According to Kilbane, Pryce, and Hong (2013), assertiveness instills confidence in the speaker besides moving the audience closer to his or her mind. Students need to improve their assertiveness through self-assurance test that evaluates individual levels of self-esteem. Learners will therefore learn to be positive in their talk and mind. Having a positive expectation even in the hardest situation during advocacy makes advocacy move confidently towards success.

Sherraden, Slosar, and Sherraden (2002) propose that learners must also be trained on negotiation and persuasion skills. In social policy advocacy, one must move masses and policymakers into action through words and actions. Social advocates must also engage in meaningful negotiations for a social course. Learners ought to appreciate that one must not always win during a negotiation. Negotiation will involve two or more groups engaging in deep and thorough evaluations and suggestions until they reach a compromise.

Sherraden, Slosar, and Sherraden (2002) observe that social policy advocates must be willing to engage with policymakers, administrators, manufacturers, and even education specialists to put forward their position on certain issues. Kilbane, Pryce, and Hong (2013) indicate how social policy advocates are not able to achieve success in most cases since they are driven by personal ambitions.During a negotiation process, the negotiating groups must keep their emotions aside. The body language of the social advocate is a major tool of communication. Body language reflects the mind of a person. Learners are supposed to be trained to use their body language to emphasize points and ideas. When addressing groups of people, social advocates need to check their body language in order not to send contradictory messages between their words and body language.

Good policy advocates are also good listeners. Learners need to be trained on listening skills. Good listening skills will enable the learners develop a better approach to issues. A good listener gains a wealth of knowledge on various policy issues. According to Kilbane, Pryce, and Hong (2013), policy advocates must listen to different opinions and views. Each side of an issue need to be given enough time to put its ideas forward on the negotiation table. Weible (2008) emphasizes that it is also important that the learners be taught on how to apply assistive technology in advocacy. Learners are supposed to be trained on how to use social media platforms and other modern technology in advocacy.

Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Success of Social Policy Advocacy

Students’ interest and skills in advocacy in the social policy course can be taught in a better and more successful way. Since the class of social policy is more practical than theoretical, the lesson need to be more focused on practical learning. The pedagogy needs to involve few theoretical lessons where learners must be able to understand the basis of advocacy.

James and Jorgensen (2009) are for the idea that theoretical works have to be allocated sessions for introduction and history, forms of social advocacy, and skills required for social advocacy. During theory classes, learners must be taken through various social advocacy issues and their purposes.

Singh (2010) argues that the teacher must ensure a continuous evaluation of learners for them to understand how to define social problems and/or device applicable advocacy solutions. The skills that one requires to be a better social advocate need to be taught and evaluated in theory. The gist of the subject ought to rest on classroom presentations. Learners are supposed to be divided into small discussion groups. These groups choose a leader to steer them through the discussion. The teacher then allocates discussion questions to each of the group. After the discussions, learners ought to be guided into classroom presentations. It is during these presentations that the teacher can actually evaluate the understanding of the content through observation and asking for further explanation from learners.

Mosley (2013) observes the need for learners to conduct research on social problems such as a violation of student rights, violation of consumer rights, women rights, and violation of children rights. They need to define the problem as a violation of rights or destruction of social well being of the community. The learner must then go on to design a social advocacy policy program. Mosley (2013) further asserts that the presentation of the program has to be made in a way that it is very persuasive and informative. The learner needs to apply the skills learnt during theory. The learner has to show proper understanding of public speaking, listening, negotiation, persuasion, and argumentation. Learners must also depict understanding of human rights, freedom, and needs.

Weible (2008) asserts that a presentation of a few minutes will be enough for the learner to sway the audience into agreement. Follow-up classes must involve public speaking forums and debates where learners persuade each other to acceptance or rejection of a certain ideology. Davy (2013) recommends that a summative evaluation of understanding of the subject by the learners need to be more practical than theoretical in that learners have to be involved in actual advocacy forums as part of their test. Learners must depict confidence, interest, and skills in policy advocacy.

James and Jorgensen (2009) further reveal how the practical approach to strengthening students’ interest and skills in advocacy in social policy course can be evaluated through continuous and summative evaluation methods. The continuous evaluation needs to be carried out after every lesson. The teacher will give an oral quiz where learners are supposed to respond. It is during the oral questions that the teacher will be able to evaluate students’ understanding of the subject area through evaluation of understanding and ability to convince others.

Singh (2010) argues that the teacher needs to gauge learners by their ability to express themselves, to negotiate with others, to persuade others, to clarify issues, and to move the group into action. Learners’ confidence in answering oral questions is one of the parameters for evaluation. Advocacy requires that the social advocate is confident and assertive in handling various matters. Learners’ interest to ask questions in class needs to be a parameter for evaluation. Policy advocates are trained to question the occurrence of various incidences and to seek clarification for unfairness in the society through questioning and mobilization of others for a common course.

The teacher ought to also provide written continuous assessment tests after every lesson. Written tests will enable evaluation of learners understanding their rights, the rights of children, women, disabled, and the society.

According to Davy (2013), evaluation can also be conducted during the presentation of the group and individual work. Since advocacy is a public undertaking, public involvement is crucial. During the presentation, the teacher will use observation skills to evaluate whether the students are able to maintain an eye contact with the audience. Proper use of body language will also be evaluated. Other items that ought to be addressed during the evaluation include ability to persuade, negotiate, and influence others towards a course.

Scott (2012) recommends that learners need to depict understanding of the audience and the ability to connect with their needs. Use of persuasive words and words of hope and assurance will also be evaluated. Finally, at the end of the season, the teacher shall use summative evaluation with description, illustration, and multiple-choice questions to test their understanding of the applicability of the whole course. Learners need to depict maturity in the final reports and presentation. According to Scott (2012), evaluation results ought to portray learners who understand the subject matter in details and learners who are committed to influencing others towards certain policy issues.

With the modern developments in the field of advocacy and teaching, a more innovative approach needs to be adopted in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. Barkhorn, Huttner, and Blau, (2013) affirm that changes in teaching methods and methods of public presentations need to be accommodated in teaching and evaluation of policy advocacy courses. To fit well in the modern market of advocacy, learners must be equipped with the right knowledge and skills in their field of specialization.

Relles and Tierney (2013) recommend that when teaching the topic of strengthening students’ interest and skills in advocacy in the social policy class, teachers have to make use of modern presentation tools and equipments. Use of computerized learning ought to be emphasized. Learners need to use PowerPoint presentations in classrooms and in public. Use of overhead projector can also be trained to the learners. The content of the lesson need to involve lessons for watching recorded episodes of the current and past social policy advocates in action. The teacher can guide the learners in watching these programs besides explaining the characteristics of advocates that can be learned from the programs.

Barkhorn, Huttner, and Blau, (2013) affirm that modern advocacy makes use of the social media platforms than other media bases. Learners therefore need to be taught on the skills of using the social media to initiate, sustain, and move policy campaigns. Yamaguchi et al. (2013) argue that practical skills on the use of social media platforms like Skype, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can be emphasized. Modern advocates must be computer literate to handle laptops, iPads, and other modern communication gadgets.

Sometimes, the use of modern language of communication is essential. Bergan and Risner (2012) assert that social advocates aim at reaching the highest number of the audience within the shortest period. Yamaguchi et al. (2013) observer that the teacher must ensure that every student could switch on, operates, and maintains the equipment used for public presentations. Learners need to be taught how to use the Internet to research certain policy ideas.

Larrison and Korr (2013) however posit that advocacy presentations need to be backed by statistics and facts. Use of mainstream media such as the television and radio can also be taught in class. Learners ought to be taught how to package information for the radio and television. Negative use of media such as the use of defamatory statements and/or libel and plagiarism must be discouraged at this level. Relles and Tierney (2013) recommend that social advocates need to be trained how to make the right word choice and tone. Learners ought to be taught some skills in conflict resolution.

Vance (2013) argues that it is also important that the teacher be innovative enough, with teachers showing learners how to identify and deal with different kinds of audiences. For example, hostile audience requires patience and command while loyal audience requires action-oriented speeches. Such skills will prepare learners to fit directly into the world of social policy advocacy.

Conclusion

The issue of strengthening students’ interest and skills in advocacy in the social policy course is important in the modern world. Although the subject of advocacy has been studied over the years, there is still much that people do not know about it. Most people believe that one cannot be trained how to advocate for a certain issue while others do not see the need of advocacy.

There are various theories of instructions in this area that have been put forward. These include the punctuated equilibrium theory, advocacy coalition framework theory, agenda setting theory, and the prospect theory. Various studies have been carried out in the field of social policy advocacy. Such studies indicate that there are essential skills that the advocates of social policies must possess. The skills will include self-awareness, knowledge of their rights, communication skills, and leadership skills.

The pedagogy can be evaluated through continuous and summative evaluation. However, in both evaluation methods, practical skills and presentation skills need to be emphasized. In the modern-day world of advocacy, there is the need for learners to be trained on the use of modern presentation devices and platforms. Learners can also be trained on how to use social and mainstream media to put forward their ideas. Learners ought to be innovative enough in their message packaging and design to appeal to the audience.

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