NCTE is the principal professional organization supporting research and teaching in the field of writing and advocating writing as a central tool for learning, thinking, and communication. We, therefore, have a unique responsibility for helping other educators understand the value of writing across the curriculum and for understanding its appropriate uses in evaluation and assessment. Members benefit by becoming acquainted with authors who share their work and their writing processes as well as by hearing from fellow teachers about the instructional strategies, technologies, and outlets for student writing they have devised.
NCTE is the principal professional organization supporting research and teaching in the field of literature at all levels of education, from kindergarten to university. We honor the distinctive power of literature to reawaken the imagination as well as to ensure that a multitude of voices and perspectives are heard. NCTE is the organization that teachers consult to learn about new literature and to help them decide on what literature to use in instruction. Members benefit by understanding the power of literature, learning about important new studies in literature, hearing from favorite authors, learning about new works, and by sharing bibliographies, booklists, book reviews, and instructional strategies for use with their students.
Integrated Language Arts
NCTE is the one professional organization that has always stood for an integrated approach to language instruction. In this regard, NCTE has a unique role in helping educators understand the role that all the expressions of language play in learning as well as in helping them expand their definitions of literacy to include reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and media study. Members benefit by understanding the integrated curriculum in terms of what it means to lead a literate 21st century life, in terms of its ability to expand each student's communication potential, and in terms of its ability to provide wider access to populations of students not currently well served by schools. Members also benefit from the experience and expertise of fellow teachers and curriculum specialists who have put in place an integrated curriculum in their classroom.
The English/Language Arts classroom can and should be a unique place to develop voice as well as to respect and to hear all voices. It is the place where many students learn they have a right to their own language, where multiple forms of literacy are explored, where censorship is abhorred, and where difference is valued in pursuit of an education befitting a democracy. Members benefit from opportunities to work with and hear from colleagues with varying backgrounds and experience; to study, question and critique dominant and often assumed societal stances; to learn how to create classrooms where students develop voices that make them effective participants in academic and public discourses; and, from opportunities to learn how to make their classrooms more relevant, more inclusive, and more critical to the lives of the learners they teach and the society in which they teach.
Knowledgeable, Caring Teachers
The key to good education is having knowledgeable teachers in every classroom who understand and care about students, language, learning, teaching, and curriculum. NCTE plays a unique role in fostering, supporting, and leading the way in developing collaborative, participatory, and effective forms of professional development where teachers' voices are heard and respected. Members benefit by assuming leadership roles in the English/Language Arts field, by attending conferences, by participating in professional development activities, by finding support for teacher research, and by finding colleagues at all levels, from pre-kindergarten through college, who mentor and sustain their faith in the work of teaching generally, and teaching the English/Language Arts particularly.
Teachers are professionals, and their expertise needs to be respected in decisions of instruction, curriculum, and assessment. Together and with NCTE's leadership, teachers can collectively and individually influence educational policy and legislation so that it is based upon what is known about language and learning. Members benefit by being kept up-to-date on issues of politics and public policy, by having a collective voice to speak to legislators and policymakers, by having support in fighting censorship, by having resolutions and position statements to use in local settings to argue for informed policy, and by having NCTE become the place where parents, administrators, and policy makers turn for the latest information on literacy.
All students can learn and benefit from instruction in the English/Language Arts. NCTE supports inclusive, public education run in such a way that teachers can teach and students can learn. NCTE supports teacher-based school reform efforts as well as recognizes the value of independent schools when these efforts do not undermine or otherwise devalue public education for all. Members benefit by knowing that NCTE is constantly interested in improving public education and in helping teachers in difficult teaching situations. Members know that NCTE stands for quality, sustained, and long-term professional development, is a major national and international voice on student and teacher rights to quality learning, and collaborates on projects and supports other organizations that share this value.