Developing Self-Advocacy in TIS

For Courageous, Communicator and Risk-Taker Students.

Self-advocacy is a skill that requires awareness, courage and communication skills. It is not only necessary at school but in life too. As a matter of fact, a student who knows how to self-advocate is more likely to do well in school, work and life. Developing the whole student is at the heart of our mission at TIS; this is why I chose to highlight one of the Elementary Tiger Traits: “courageous.” This echoes being a “communicator” and “risk-taker” in the IB learner profile for secondary students. 


We can define self-advocacy as the ability to communicate about your needs. It matters for all students but more specifically:

This year, the Inclusive Education team aims to encourage High School students with an Individualised Educational Plan (IEP) to develop an understanding of their needs and talk about their goals. They also learn about different tools and support that can help and how to ask for them, to strengthen self-advocacy. In the past, parents and teachers may have made decisions or advocated on the student's behalf. Now, as a preparation for the university, it is their turn to raise their voice to become independent young adults, embracing their future!


What is necessary to develop self-advocacy? 

It is essential to keep in mind that self-advocacy is a challenging task. It requires a lot of courage and risk-taking. Sometimes, students need help to speak up because they don’t always know what to ask, how to ask or what to say. Being able to speak up for yourself is a skill that takes time and practice. One step is recognizing a challenge, or being able to express that something is wrong or problematic. This is already advocacy. 

Building self-advocacy skills is the fruit of a process, a journey from awareness to acceptance and from acceptance to attitude. The earlier you start, the better!


We can identify three key elements to build self-advocacy

  1. Awareness and understanding of your needs. The first step is to become aware of your strengths and challenges. Another step is to identify the reasons for the challenges.

  2. Acceptance and research of the kind of support that might help you. Self-advocacy is impossible without acceptance. After the difficulty is identified, the student needs to accept the need for help and then identify the type of efficient support. 

  3. Communication about these needs to others.

What are the benefits of being a good self-advocate?


 How to practice self-advocacy? Here are a few tips 

Together, let’s continue to build self-advocacy for courageous, communicative and risk-taker students!

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