INBOX is a bi-weekly e-mail wrap-up of the most important stories in English language arts education, ideas for your classroom, and news from NCTE.
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Issues and Resources
January 18, 2017
With so many unknowns swirling around, those of us tasked with teaching this year face unique opportunities and challenges as we build students’ literacy in all areas. Here are just a few recent issues that have clear ties to NCTE positions:
LISTENING: In this recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, John C. Cavanaugh suggests our current political environment calls for a stronger focus on building students’ ability to really listen.
NCTE’s Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment argues for “build[ing] intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so [as] to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought” and offers a set of guiding questions to help educators think through how to achieve this.
INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM: A number of free speech/censorship issues have been in the headlines. Here’s an illustration of how broad a spectrum this issue is covering: In this opinion piece from the Washington Post, José A. Cabranes argues that “[o]ur universities today must pay more than lip service to free expression.” This article from the New York Times advocates for parents to read “banned books” with their children because “part of the glorious freedom (and human right) of literacy is the opportunity to journey with words well beyond your comfort zone.”
NCTE’s position statements on this topic include: Academic Freedom, the Students’ Right to Read, the Students’ Right to Write, and Language, Power, and Action. If you're facing a challenge or looking for resources to help your school create a policy the Intellectual Freedom Center is here to help!
ETHNIC STUDIES: A new proposed bill in Arizona would extend an ethnic-studies ban to universities.
This NCTE Position Statement in Support of Ethnic Studies Initiatives in K–12 Curricula “recognizes ethnic studies as a scholarly field that has always been invested in providing equal access to literacy, encouraging democratic principles, and promoting different ways of knowing—of producing and disseminating knowledge.” The statement offers concrete suggestions for what strong initiatives should include. This older Guideline on Expanding Opportunities: Academic Success for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students applies to higher education as well. “If teachers show interest in the experiences of all students, they pave the way for introducing students to other experiences.” You can read more about NCTE’s past work around this issue here.
READ THE FULL ISSUE HERE.