We publish articles of general interest as space is available. You may submit manuscripts on any topic that will appeal to EJ readers. Remember that EJ articles foreground classroom practice and contextualize it in sound research and theory. As you know, EJ readers appreciate articles that show real students and teachers in real classrooms engaged in authentic teaching and learning. Regular manuscript guidelines regarding length and style apply.
“Beyond the Dream:” Black Textual Expressivities between the World and Me
Guest Editor: David E. Kirkland, with Julie Gorlewski and David Gorlewski
Submission Deadline: July 15, 2016
Publication Date: March 2017
That was a moment, a joyous moment, beyond The Dream—a moment imbued by a power more gorgeous than any voting rights bill. This power, this black power, originates in a view of the American galaxy taken from a dark and essential planet.
—Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
At one level we are witnessing what Cornel West calls “a democratic awakening,” the unique union of rights groups with poor and vulnerable people who are asking the right kinds of questions and demanding immediate answers. At another level, too many people are fast asleep, entranced (and sometimes deeply hypnotized) by what Ta-Nehisi Coates calls The Dream, “the enemy of all art, courageous thinking, and honest writing” (p. 50). On the other side of The Dream—in the midst of a humanistic arousal—Black textual expressivities, borne online through social media and other platforms of dissemination, have given Black youth language to lead the democratic awakening. This language offers opportunities to arouse the masses lulled into complacency by the sedating rhetorics of racial mythologies—chiefly post-racialism.
This same moment has given us teachers of English language arts cause to search for the higher consciousness that provokes our practice. It reminds us that our nation, though filled with the promises of progress, continues its deep disregard for Black lives and Black life. A few looming examples of our current state of inequity include the massive use of state power to incarcerate hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown bodies; the de facto legalization of murder against the Children of the Rainbow; chronic and mass un(der)employment; devastated, wasted, and occupied communities; and heightened state surveillance. For Black lives to matter, for Black life to endure, the structures supporting oppression must be dismantled. To dismantle them, we need a revolution in English language arts classrooms. This revolution must be as powerful as the systems that sustain human suffering, systems that maintain a deeply entrenched racial caste.
This special issue seeks to reimagine English language arts teaching, measuring the work of English language arts teachers on scales of human rights. How might English language arts classrooms help move students beyond The Dream? To describe and critique the logics, structures, and realities of racial caste and other systems of disparity defined by race, how might English language arts teachers use Black textual expressivities—the many textual forms that express substances of Black life as they come to value and reveal Black lives? Texts, here, are broadly defined, situated across a field of multi-sensual potentialities—visual and aural, written and inscribed, read and listened to.
Teachers, researchers, activists, and public intellectuals are encouraged to contribute manuscripts of 2,500–3,750 words, written to an audience of secondary educators, addressing questions of Black textual expression in English language arts. Black textualities, like Black bodies, are contested in American classrooms, complicated by competing interests that wrestle daily for an ethical place in the consciousness of English language arts. However, in English language arts classrooms, Black textualities have the power to move our assumptions about past beliefs that strip away Black humanity. They can also bring us closer to those complex narratives of people that build humanity and nurture sensitivities that abolish internal and external contracts of bigotry and violence. Through such textualities, English language arts teaching takes on a new meaning. Here, it means instructing the mind as well as the heart. It means teaching for justice, which is always and only about teaching (to) love.
Please direct questions about this issue to David E. Kirkland (email@example.com).
Textual Revolution: Reading and Writing the Word and the World
Submission Deadline: September 15, 2016
Publication Date: May 2017
This issue will explore how changes in text, media, and education policy influence the daily lives of students and teachers—and, more importantly, how teachers and students can be active participants in these processes of change. Too often, reform is imposed without input from those most involved in its implementation and most influenced by its ultimate effects. Too often, answers are provided before questions are thoughtfully posed. In this issue, we invite teachers to contribute to the development of language, learning, and schools.
Educators know that the small, concrete daily interactions of people have the potential to create revolution. The question is, How? How do we shift from being pawns in a large system to being active participants in transformational processes that represent the promise of education? Literacy—that is, making meaning from text—is a collaborative endeavor that requires a commitment to meaningful transformation based on critical reflection. Therefore, we propose that Reflection + Evolution = Revolution.
Texts reflect society in that they are continuously evolving. This evolution is inevitable, even welcome, and tends to be incremental. The idea of “continuous improvement” often associated with classroom practice is a form of evolution. Revolution, by contrast, is a daunting, comprehensive concept, analogous to the field of education and large-scale reform. This issue of EJ challenges teachers to provide examples of how they and their students shift from passive evolution to active revolution. Questions that submissions might consider include the following: How do students enact and reveal changes in text, in media, and in language? How can interacting with text contribute to the development of learners as engaged participants in social change? In what ways do reading, writing, speaking, and listening in secondary English reflect and construct the worlds we inhabit? How can students, teachers, and texts intersect to interrupt existing structures? What texts can change the world, and how?
As we experience and shape contemporary changes in texts, we wish to explore how educators and students can interact with and compose texts to create a better world. In this issue, we invite authors to help us discover how changes in language, society, and youth culture can help us reimagine classrooms that focus on human development, relationships, and justice.
Multicultural and Multivoiced Stories for Adolescents
Guest Editors: Kelly Byrne Bull and Jacqueline Bach
Submission Deadline: January 15, 2017
Publication Date: September 2017
Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns of “The Danger of a Single Story” (TEDGlobal, July 2009). She writes:
"The problem with the single story is that it creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. . . . The consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar."
By weaving multicultural and multivoiced young adult literature (YAL) into the curriculum, teachers can avoid the danger of the single story. Culturally diverse young adult literature invites readers to explore new vistas. These stories engage readers in considering new perspectives to create understandings and build cross-cultural connections. Social media movements such as #weneeddiversebooks recognize and support the roles authors and their stories can play in representing the many voices of our adolescents.
In this issue, we explore how multicultural and multivoiced young adult literature can broaden adolescents’ perspectives and engage classroom communities in meaningful discourse. While the term multicultural texts can refer to readers’ race, ethnicity, gender expression, spiritual belief, sexual orientation, and languages/dialects, and multivoiced texts offer multiple narrative voices and perspectives, we leave both terms open for readers to interpret. In all, such texts both broaden and deepen adolescents’ understandings of themselves and the world.
We invite you to share your research-based practices and classroom experiences with teaching multicultural or multivoiced young adult literature. How do we teach and interpret these texts? How do you use YAL to build cross-cultural connections in your classrooms? In what ways do students gain global perspectives through reading culturally diverse YAL? What stories have you used that connect students with the personal and the global? What are the criteria for evaluating a multicultural or multivoiced young adult book?
Please direct questions about this issue to Kelly Byrne Bull (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Death in the English Classroom
Submission Deadline: March 15, 2017
Publication Date: November 2017
Teachers and learners live in the physical and metaphysical worlds. Our existence is, in part, defined by mortality. The knowledge of the fragility of life affects how we think, what we feel, and how we engage with the materiality of texts. Our experiences of life and death influence the stories we tell about each other, ourselves, and the worlds we inhabit.
In schools, and in English classes especially, death lives. It permeates the texts we teach and the texts our students read—both fiction and nonfiction. And because the membranes that separate our classrooms from the world are porous, death enters our classrooms through the lives of learners. Students experience loss of loved ones, and they bring these losses into school. As teachers, we bring such losses to our classrooms as well. Moreover, shared losses affect us; we must together cope with tragedies such as 9/11, school shootings, and the death of members of our own communities. Collective grief can bring us together or drive us apart.
As English teachers, our affinity for language facilitates understanding; we relate to the physical and metaphysical world through words. In this issue, we explore how death enters English classrooms, and how words, texts, and learning communities work together to cope, to grieve, and to grow together as humans. Questions we might consider include: What texts bring death into your classroom in ways that resonate for you and your students? How has death entered your classroom, and what effects did its presence have? In what ways have the physical and the metaphysical intersected with texts to support the construction of meaning?
We invite submissions in which authors share their experiences and engage with scholarly literature to extend the conversation about death in English classrooms.
Writing Is Power: Helping Students Craft Their Wor(l)ds
Guest Editors: Vicki McQuitty and Pamela J. Hickey
Submission Deadline: May 15, 2017
Publication Date: January 2018
As English teachers, we believe strongly in the power of words. We recognize that our words—particularly when written down and then carefully revised—have the power to create new realities and change our world. We strategically use writing to position ourselves within important conversations and add our voices in purposeful, meaningful, and powerful ways.
Yet, too often, students experience writing as a disempowering act. Though they write constantly, texting and posting to social media, in school they write to get a grade rather than to say something important. They ask, “How long does it have to be?” rather than “How can my words make a difference?” They mechanically follow the rubrics rather than critically and strategically crafting their voices.
This issue of English Journal seeks articles about how teachers empower their students as writers in the twenty-first century. What writing assignments—including texts that mix images, audio, and spatial patterns of meaning with words—do you use to inspire your students? How do you help them add their voices to important conversations? How do you support them as they learn to think critically and strategically about what and how they write? How can teachers help their students experience writing as meaningful and powerful?
We invite manuscripts of 2,500–3,750 words, written to an audience of educators in grades 7–12.
Speaking My Mind: We invite you to speak out on an issue that concerns you about English language arts teaching and learning. If your essay is published, it will appear with your photo in a future issue of EJ. We welcome essays of 1,000 to 1,500 words, as well as inquiries regarding possible subjects.
Teacher photographs of classroom scenes and individual students are welcome. Photographs may be uploaded to Editorial Manager at the address above in any standard image format at 300 dpi. Photos should be accompanied by complete identification: teacher/photographer’s name, location of scene, and date photograph was taken. If faces are clearly visible, names of those photographed should be included, along with their statement of permission for the photograph to be reproduced in EJ.
Cartoons should depict scenes or ideas potentially amusing to English language arts teachers. They can be submitted to Editorial Manager at the address above; we can accept any standard graphics format at 300 dpi.
For information on writing for the EJ columns, see the Columns and Column Editors page.
For EJ Submission Guidelines, click here.
For more information, contact Englishjournal@ncte.org.