General Interest Submissions
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.
Interdisciplinary Synergy: Teaching and Learning in Collaboration
Deadline: May 15, 2013
Publication Date: January 2014
As a central component of both culture and identity, language represents an important aspect of how teachers and learners experience the world. Although schools are often divided into content-specific departments, we know that thinking is not bound by time or space. Students don’t turn off their “math brains” when they enter science classes, nor do they stop being analytical thinkers in art class. English teachers, as facilitators of the language in which most learning experiences occur, have particular opportunities—and responsibilities—with respect to interdisciplinary instruction. In this issue, we seek to explore the challenges and possibilities of interdisciplinary instruction. Issues to consider and expand on include the following: How are English classes enhanced and strengthened by collaborating with teachers in other disciplines? How are studies in each content area enhanced by these experiences? What particular strengths do English teachers bring to collaborative endeavors in math, social studies, science, physical education, and the arts? How do extracurricular activities contribute to interdisciplinary work? What experiences have you had in working across disciplines? What kinds of institutional supports can encourage interdisciplinary collaboration? How does cross-content planning and instruction influence student learning? In the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration, we especially encourage manuscripts that are coauthored by colleagues working to achieve synergy across content areas. We hope authors will help to explore and reveal how English classrooms can bridge disciplinary boundaries in the service of authentic teaching and learning.
Literacy and Literature: Making Meanings in English Classrooms
Deadline: July 15, 2013
Publication Date: March 2014
According to Mark Twain, “the man who does not read books has no advantage over the man that cannot read them.' The field of English teaching, like language itself, is undergoing constant change. Most recently, the term literacy has saturated classrooms and, in some cases, created concern about how this focus may affect teachers’ ability to engage students with literature. In this issue, we hope to explore your experiences (both successes and frustrations) in connecting and disconnecting the concepts of literacy and literature in the field of English. We seek articles that explore the complexities of these words, in theory and in action. What does it mean to be “literate” in today’s world? Are English teachers also literacy experts? How does literacy education fit into the work of English teachers? How do literature and literacy interact? Are these ideas mutually supportive or mutually exclusive? How do you and your
colleagues interpret these terms and apply them in the classroom? And does literacy matter if students do not learn to love literature? Do nonfiction or “informational texts” count as literature? How do you teach literacy and literature in your classroom? What classroom practices support the skills and dispositions students need to be successful in academics and beyond? What kinds of instructional activities and assessment strategies work well in helping students read Freire’s “the word and the world”? We seek articles that investigate and consider the multiple meanings that teachers and students make as they interact with each other and multiple forms of texts. Additional topics also include new literacy, classic literature in contemporary classrooms, and reinterpreting literature in a digital world.
Unthemed Issue (General Interest)
Deadline: September 15, 2013
Publication Date: May 2014
From Novice to Expert: The Development of Professional Educators
Deadline: November 15, 2013
Publication Date: July 2014
Teaching is a complex interpersonal and intrapersonal activity that involves engagement in numerous spheres. It requires investment in intellectual, physical, psychological, and emotional domains; and, as we know from understanding childhood and adolescent development, growth in various domains is neither simultaneous nor parallel. Progress occurs in fits and starts—and entails errors, occasional regression, and critical reflection to be meaningful and lasting. The path from novice to expert is circuitous, slippery, and steep. Teacher travelers need stamina, support, scaffolding, and comfortable shoes. They need regular breaks, areas where they can stop to admire the landscape, and—once in a while—a boost. Given the challenges of the educator’s expedition, this issue explores how teachers can support one another on the journey from novice to expert. What strategies have worked for you? How does mentoring affect the process of professional development? How are novice teachers different from expert teachers? What do you wish you had known when you were a novice? And how is student learning influenced by the experiences of teachers who are, themselves, reflecting on their practice and seeking continuous improvement? What evidence can we present to demonstrate to the public the importance of professional development for teachers? How can we advocate that school districts devote the resources necessary for ensuring teachers receive appropriate opportunities for ongoing development? We seek researched-based articles that investigate and consider the professional journeys of English teachers as they move from novice to expert status.
A Whole New Ballgame: Sports and Culture in the English Classroom
Deadline: January 15, 2014
Publication Date: September 2014
Guest Editors: Alan Brown and Chris Crowe
Love sports or hate them, it’s hard to deny their prominence in American society and their popularity with 21st-century adolescents. Interscholastic athletics in particular can play a significant role in the overall culture of a school and have a substantial impact on students’ daily lives. Despite this influence, the topic of sports in society is often absent from the professional conversations of English teachers, an exclusion that could prove to be a missed opportunity. This issue will examine the possibilities for both utilizing and critiquing the culture of sports as a means of increasing student engagement and promoting student learning in the English classroom. Within this context, we seek manuscripts that explore the intersection of literacy, sport, culture, and society, and we encourage column submissions devoted to this same theme.
A number of important questions guide this issue: What connections or disconnections exist between the perceived physical nature of athletics and the mental nature of academics? What real-world associations have you made between sports and the English curriculum? How can sports-related texts (e.g., young adult literature, canonical literature, graphic novels, poetry, nonfiction, magazines, newspapers) be integrated into the academic culture of an English class? How have you promoted the teaching of 21st-century skills through the use of sports-related media, film, and technology? What possibilities exist for interdisciplinary (e.g., historical, political, scientific, social) connections to sports across content areas? How have you engaged students in critical dialogue about our societal emphasis on sports? How can we extend the definition of sport to be more inclusive for students of diverse cultures, races, genders, ethnicities, and abilities? How can an examination of sports culture open the door to discussions of other cultures that exist in school and society?
The Standards Movement: A Recent History
Deadline: March 15, 2014
Publication Date: November 2014
For better or for worse, today’s educational culture is dominated by the effects of standards, standardization, and high-stakes testing. To the novice educator, it may seem as if this is the norm; that, in a sense, it has always been this way. But the fact is that the reform movement we are witnessing today has been in the making for decades: from the first state-level tests administered in the 1970s, to the development of state standards in the 1980s and 1990s, to the implementation of the testing requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), to the linking of student performance and teacher evaluation spawned by Race to the Top (RTTT), to the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, public education has been moving inexorably toward standards and standardization.
We seek articles which reveal—from both personal or historical perspectives—the experiences of educators who have struggled, and are still struggling, with the impact of the standards movement.
What can you contribute to a better understanding of the standards movement? How has the standards movement affected you and your students? What are your earliest recollections of the movement? Were you involved in the early state testing activities and, if so, how did those experiences affect your teaching? How did the adoption of your state’s standards change your classroom practices in terms of content and pedagogy? Did your curriculum narrow or expand? How has the testing system in your state and school district changed since NCLB and RTTT? Have there been tangible benefits from the standardization of the curriculum? What, if anything, has been lost in the standards movement? Do the Common Core State Standards represent a solution or a problem? What are your experiences over the years with high-stakes testing? Have they helped your students meet the prescribed standards? How have those tests changed the way you teach? How have they changed your relationships with your students?
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.
Student Voices: This is a forum for students to share their experiences and recommendations in short pieces of 300 words. Teachers are encouraged to submit the best responses from their classes, not whole class sets, please. Individual students are welcome to submit as well. Current question:
--How do your experiences in your English classes connect with learning in other subjects? How do these connections affect learning? (Deadline: May 15, 2013)
Teacher to Teacher: This is a forum for teachers to share ideas, materials, and activities in short pieces of 300 words. Current question:
--What challenges and benefits have you experienced from interdisciplinary planning and instruction? (Deadline: May 15, 2013)
Teacher photographs of classroom scenes and individual students are welcome. Photographs may be sent as 8" × 10" black-and-white glossies or as an electronic file in a 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. Line drawings in black ink should be submitted on 8 1/2" × 11" unlined paper and be signed by the artist.
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 English_Journal@notes.cc.sunysb.edu.