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.
Visible Teaching: Open Doors as Resistance
Editors: Julie Gorlewski, David Gorlewski, P. L. Thomas, and Sean P. Connors
Submission Deadline: March 15, 2016
Publication Date: November 2016
Under pressure to adhere to a scripted curriculum or to conform to standardized instructional practices, educators might choose to adhere to a popular adage that recommends that they “close the door and teach,” presumably as an act of resistance. This advice is problematic, however, because it denies the agency of teachers, as professionals, to effect change in their schools. It willfully conceals alternative instructional practices that might otherwise benefit students, and it ignores the role that shared knowledge can play in sustaining a community.
Alternatively, teaching with our doors open establishes agency where the system has denied it; offers direct alternatives to the practices we reject, especially those that are not supported by the evidence of our field; and models for students how professionals behave.
This issue of English Journal explores how a decision to “teach with our doors open” can be interpreted as a form of empowerment and an act of resistance. It acknowledges teachers as agentive, and aims to understand how making one’s practices visible to others can disrupt standardizing forces and disciplinary mechanisms that are intended to promote conformity and compliance.
Contributors might consider questions such as: What conditions prompt teachers to teach behind closed doors, and how can they productively be addressed? How do you negotiate space to teach with your door open, and what advice would you offer others interested in doing so? How have you engaged with colleagues who respond differently to mandated and prescribed practices that you feel are not valid or effective? If you have experienced a transformative moment—moving from teaching with your door closed to teaching with your door open—how did that look and what advice can you offer those interested in making the same transition? How can teachers work with school leaders to create a school culture that values the open exchange of ideas and embraces evidence-based practices that push against mandates? We welcome educators to share experiences that investigate this important topic in the context of scholarly literature.
We invite manuscripts of 2,500-3,750 words, written to an audience of educators in grades 7-12 English classrooms.
Reading and Composing Digital Video
Guest Editors: David Bruce and Suzanne Miller
Submission Deadline: May 15, 2016
Publication Date: January 2017
Digital Video (DV) —one of the emergent technologies typically associated with New Literacies—is an important and exciting development in English education. DV has been used in a variety of ways and for numerous purposes, and reasons for using DV in English classrooms abound. Students show high interest and aptitude with DV, contemporary culture increasingly requires reading and composing multimodal texts, the technology is ubiquitous with tablets and smart phones, and neuroscience suggests embodied learning from such representational activities.
Perhaps most important, composing DV promotes meaning-making with multiple modes, thereby fostering social justice. In an era when educational assessments are increasingly narrow, we need “multiple channels of communication” beyond print to provide human ways of knowing (Freire, 1993, p. 49). Our visual, aural, spatial and kinesthetic ways of understanding allow more inclusive access and invite more active participation in how knowledge is represented and understood.
In this issue, we aim to present research and rich classroom portraits showing how DV can be used as a learning tool in existing school curricula. Articles might address considerations such as curricular integration; classroom learning; connections between print and digital literacies; influences on writing and reading; cross-curricular learning; teacher mediation; working within the confines of Common Core State Standards; student expression; balancing creative, technical, and curricular concerns; and engaging audience beyond the classroom walls.
In this issue we hope to describe how teachers and teacher educators are creating classrooms where students develop social futures and performance competence for contemporary life by reading and composing Digital Video. Inquiries about this special issue should be directed to Suzanne Miller at email@example.com.
Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
“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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.