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.
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.
The Essence of Improvement: Leadership in English Language Arts Instruction
Submission Deadline: July 15, 2017
Publication Date: March 2018
John Quincy Adams wrote, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” Leadership, then, does not necessarily stem from those who hold titles or positions of authority; and if what Adams says is true, then anyone can be a leader. Though he made this statement in the early 19th century, current educational research focusing on school improvement supports his belief. As we look back at nearly 40 years of school reform efforts, it is clear that there is no “cookie cutter” approach to improving the teaching and learning process; that there is no set of “best practices” that can be uniformly applied to all children in all schools. What has emerged from the literature on school reform is the indispensible role of leadership; and that leadership may come from traditional sources such as a school district superintendent or a building principal. However, when tracing the success of a school, research has found that leadership may come from, for example, a department chair, a teacher, a reading specialist, a curriculum coordinator, a content area specialist, or even a parent group.
We invite you to share experiences related to the improvement of English language arts instruction on a broad basis (beyond a single classroom); experiences that had an impact on, for example, an entire grade level, department, school building, or school district. While crafting your manuscript, consider these questions: What grade level, department level, or school district level curricular issues/concerns needed to be addressed? How were these issues/concerns identified? What efforts had been made in the past to address the issues/concerns? How did leadership emerge? How was the leadership able to forge a consensus on what needed to be done to address the issue/concern? What steps were taken to achieve administrative, faculty, staff, and parental support? How was “success” measured?
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.