Responsibility, Creativity, and the Arts of Language
November 19-22, 2015, Minneapolis, Minnesota
From Program Chair Doug Hesse:
It seems quaint to invoke “the language arts.” After all, science, not art, is ascendant these days, and the educational world spins around STEM. As graduates vie for jobs, people want “practical” skills. Clearly, we must respond responsibly to our students’ and society’s needs.
But we should promote school and career skills as but one aspect of literacy. We should value not only workers but also citizens, not only students passing tests but also social beings making connections, not only information processors but also idea creators. We read to extract—but also to evaluate and imagine. We compose to report—but also to remember and reflect, to influence and entertain, to console and inspire. Fully literate lives need creativity as well as competency.
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein contended, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” At a cultural moment when it’s tempting to make the world defensively smaller, we should yet advocate the ample arts of language. As professional makers of readers and writers, NCTE members advance literate life at its richest.
For more on this year's theme, read the Call for Program Proposals.