First responders (secoureurs) are local: with local personnel, action
and resources. Our aim here is to teach local teachers (working with
allies) to propose locally relevant advocacy solutions to issues that
effect their programs. Our advocacy generally treats identified
specific and diverse problems associated with French language and
culture programs in defined geographic locations. Within that context
it seeks to influence public policy and resource allocation decisions
of specific educational institutions. Sometimes, we find it
necessary to defend all language study, or consider French in a more
general, national or international context.
AATF RESOURCES - Run by Commission on Advocacy Members
WHY LOCAL? In the U.S., public school districts are local with a
connection to their state for guidelines and funding. Most decisions
are made with a focus on the school, the district or the state. Many
private schools are locally focused or narrowly on those who attend
and/or fund them.
How often do we hear the claim that a location where French is taught
is far form any who speak French? Our quarantining in 2020 has taught
us the importance of online communities. There are over 150 million
French speakers online. Internet penetration for this community so far
is only about 35% and growing. Your conversation is as close as your
smartphone, tablet or computer. But that's not all. There are French
speakers in your state. They may represent governments, businesses of
What is the source of the threat, and how did you hear (read) about it?
Is this a final decision?
If not, what are the steps which will make it a final decision?
Can you estimate when those steps might be taken?
Who is the decision maker to resolve the issue?
Who else, besides you, has access to this information?
Are you permitted to share information with your allies?
To what extent will programs be affected (best case? worse case?)
IMAGE - Before the storm, prepare an image for who you are and what you do.
Don't be the person who just teaches French courses at school X. You
are part of the French and/or the Foreign Language "program". Make sure
your school's academic counselors know as much as possible about your
Let your program reflect other things taught in your school, because it
allows students to acquire a general communication tool, with
applicable literacy and numeracy, and because it facilitates your
alliance with teachers in other disciplines.
Make sure your program is wider than France. Extend your range to the
Francophone world; geography, cultural iconography, basic cultural and
Your students must be able to encounter French outside the classroom,
like french club, films in French, French-language music, French
face-time, skype, zoom partners, social media, service project
(tutoring young kids, etc.), immersion meal or day, game.
NEWS of what you do: school or local newspaper, radio and television,
social media, bulletin boards, school announcements, digital display
ALLIES - Make sure you have allies and connections:
Accept the idea of finding allies through networking, physically and by social media, and take action.
Your allies should be a regular part of your context.
Let your allies see your image and be observers and sounding boards for advocacy concerns.
Make sure your allies include students, parents, alumni, colleagues, counselors. but also…
AATF & other language organizations, web, email, social media
Teachers from nearby college French programs
Alliance Française, French Meetups, French Consulate & consul honoraire
Employees of businesses from or exporting to French-speaking countries
Politicians from county commissioners to state legislators
CONNECTION - These two link pages will let you find evidence the
influence of French speakers closer to home that you had imagined, in
order to let doubters know how locally and regionally connected your
STATES–FRANCOPHONE CULTURE & ECONOMIC TIES