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.
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?
Re-thinking “Adolescence” to Re-imagine English
Guest Editors: Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides, Mark A. Lewis, and Robert Petrone
Deadline: May 15, 2014
Publication Date: January 2015
For a field intent upon dispelling stereotypes tied to race, gender, sexuality, physical ability and other social categories, we have yet to sufficiently examine how we view adolescence and how these views affect how we teach English. Typical ways of thinking about adolescence come from biological and psychological understandings (e.g., raging hormones, identity crisis). These lenses prevail in our thinking, representing the adolescent as a moody, self-centered, peer-oriented being that is different from adults in distinct ways. These deficit orientations position youth passively, present their life circumstances as demeaning, and fail to account for seeing this category, like others, as a social construct.
In an effort to challenge and change how representations of and assumptions about youth function in English language arts, this themed issue solicits manuscripts that push the field to re-think its dominant paradigms of youth. We are particularly interested in manuscripts that consider the following questions: How does thinking of adolescence as culturally constructed generate new, distinct readings of young adult texts? How might the rethinking of adolescence create fresh approaches for reading and teaching canonical texts? How have you used ideas of youth as a construct in secondary school settings, especially with students? How have you explored such ideas with preservice and inservice teachers? What challenges have you experienced in attempting to shift dominant understanding of “adolescence/ts”?
As guest editors of this themed issue, we are interested in this topic because of our recent work establishing what we refer to as a Youth Lens. Imagined as a lens intended to sit alongside feminist, queer, Marxist, and postcolonial approaches, this Youth Lens views adolescence as a construct and calls attention to and critiques representations of youth.
For those interested in reading more about a Youth Lens, please contact the guest editors at email@example.com.
Poetry: Rhyme and Reason
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Publication Date: March 2015
To paraquote Ciardi and Williams, “How does a poem mean?” (1959). Poetry brings into sharp relief the contradictions of teaching English language arts: Do we teach skills or content? Information or critical literacy? Do we seek proficiency or elicit passion?
Of course, these questions are persistently intertwined. They cannot be disentangled any more than we can separate ourselves from our work. Like teaching, poetry is intensely human, social, and personal. It involves sound and sense, trust and trouble, beauty and pain; and like our students, poetry can make us laugh, cry, and bang our heads against a wall. A poem offers promise and release. Poetry haunts our dreams.
For this issue, we seek research-based articles that explore questions such as these: How does the power and possibility of poetry intersect with classroom life? How can teachers help students connect with poetry and understand its cultural relevance as a force for speaking truth to power? Where does the teaching of poetry fit in the current culture of standardization? How can poetry be used to motivate students to explore contemporary issues? How can poetry help us find meaning in everyday moments? How does poetry—contemporary and classic—inspire and energize you in your work? In short, how does a poem mean for you?
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 English_Journal@notes.cc.sunysb.edu.