October 2010: Leadership
As announced in the February 2009 issue, Leadership will always be our October theme. October’s a good month to consider leadership. Some years, we’re getting ready to elect a new President. Every year, school leaders have gotten the opening of the year under their belts and are already considering what to do (and not to do) the following school year. And disillusionment hasn’t set in yet for teachers. More important, we think an annual leadership theme is only fitting for a journal that serves as the voice of and for English/language arts leaders in K–13 settings. Definitions of leadership—good leadership—are always changing. In her keynote speech at the CEL 2008 convention, Louann Reid, CEL’s 2008 Exemplary Leadership Award winner, suggested that effective 21st-century leadership is defined by collaboration, multitasking, and technological savvy—a change from leadership a generation ago, marked by hierarchy, intrinsic motivation, and a lack of diversity. English department head and CEL member David Padilla says, “There’s a difference between change that a department and/or person resists, versus change a department and/or person can’t do.” We think knowing the difference marks a good leader. For this leadership-inspired issue, we hope to hear from you about what it means to lead in the 21st century. Has your department experienced some growing pains? Changes in leadership? How do you set examples and raise expectations as a leader in your building? How do you prepare for a successful school year? How do you mentor beginning teachers? How do you meet the challenges of leadership in the 21st century? Let us hear from you! Deadline: June 15, 2010.
February 2011: Dear President:
President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are calling for changes to NCLB, but public education advocates worry these changes won’t diminish the overreliance on standardized testing to measure student achievement and teaching effectiveness. We’re ready to see real changes to federal education policy—changes that call for authentic, alternative assessments; enriched reading curriculum; reduced class sizes; and meaningful professional teacher development. What about you? What changes would you like to see? For our February 2011 issue, we want to hear from you. Send in a 100–150-word response to this question: How do we measure student achievement and effective English teaching beyond test scores? To begin to affect change in public school education policy, we need to be able to answer this question. We’ll not only publish your answers in ELQ, we’ll compile them in a letter to the President and Arne Duncan. Let’s get our voices heard! Deadline: October 15, 2010.
April 2011: Peace, Love, and Understanding
We love the question Mary Rose O’Reilley (1993) poses in her book The Peaceable Classroom: “Is it possible to teach English so that people stop killing each other?” (p. 9). O’Reilley first encountered that question when she participated in a 1967 colloquium for teaching assistants; that question obviously connected directly to the social and political unrest of the 1960s and 1970s and to the antiwar movement of that era. The question resonates for us today, at a time when the US continues to be at war in Afghanistan (called America’s longest and bloodiest war by some), discriminatory immigration laws are passed in Arizona (and applauded in Texas and Tennessee), and a racist Tea Party gains momentum in national politics. We wonder, “Is it possible to teach English so that people stop hating each other?” Is it? What do you think? Can literature be taught in such a way as to help people respectfully consider others’ points of views? To enable them to empathize with others? Tell us what you think, and send us lessons you’ve used that make a difference. Deadline: December 15, 2010.
August 2011: New Technologies and the English Classroom
Does your idea of literacy include reading Facebook status updates, tweets, or text messages? Do you use classroom blogs or wikis? Do your students write fanfiction or participate in online fan chat boards? If so, we want to hear how these 21st century technologies are impacting your instruction and student learning. Recent research reports tell us 73% of teens use social networking sites like Facebook, and 54% of teens text daily. Books are also going digital—teens can read e-books (e.g., Kindle), text novels (cell-phone novels), and digital hybrid “vooks” (like Patrick Carman’s Skeleton Creek, which combines traditional print-based reading with online viewing components). What do you make of these technological changes in literacy? How are they impacting how we read and write? Tell us what you think, and/or share stories of practice about how you’re bringing new technologies into the English classroom. Deadline: April 15, 2011.
October 2011: Common Core English/Language Arts Standards
The Common Core Standards in English/Language Arts were designed to “define the knowledge and skills students should have to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing, academic college courses and in workforce training programs.” What do you think such knowledge and skills should look like? What conversations about the national standards are you having in your English departments? Are you aligning state and national standards, and if so, what does this work look like? What worries/concerns do you have about the movement to national English standards? About the Common Core English standards themselves? Do you think this move is a good one? Deadline: June 20, 2011.