Americans think about and respond to the topics of STEM education and learning in out-of-school settings in patterned ways. Sometimes, this can undermine their support for effective solutions, and cause them to ignore what afterschool advocates are calling for. It is crucial that we become aware of and familiar with these default patterns of understanding in order to accurately anticipate what our communications efforts must overcome.
The FrameWorks Institute, a nonprofit communications think tank, has identified the most effective ways of communicating about afterschool STEM education, and the strategies detailed here have been tested for their ability to improve public understanding and increase support for key reforms. In all, more than 6,350 Americans were queried as part of this specific research through interviews, surveys and focus groups. Over 400 articles and communication materials were analyzed.
Whether you're talking with a policy maker, a funder, potential community or school partners, or parents, there are common framing strategies that can help make a powerful argument for why afterschool STEM matters. And by using materials from the Afterschool STEM Hub, your local advocacy efforts will harmonize with the efforts of afterschool STEM advocates across the nation. Speaking a common language, we can amplify our voices, assure greater attention to these issues, and expand children's access to effective afterschool STEM learning.
There's tons of resources on this website--online courses, webinars, research reports, communications tools, and more! Start with these three resources to get going right away.
The communications research has discovered that many of the common arguments made by STEM education advocates have unintended and sometime unproductive effects on our audience. Take a quick tour of themes to avoid, compared with alternatives to advance.
These four talking points answer the public’s big questions about why afterschool STEM matters, how it works, and how to improve it. Each talking point pulls from tested strategies that have been shown to build the public’s support for afterschool STEM.
Public thinking is like a swamp – and it can be hard to get your messages through. The communications research has found that there are default patterns of thinking that people use to makes sense of issues related to STEM education and out-of-school time learning. Navigate through the swamp with this map.