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Resolution on Contemporary Discourse and the English Language Arts Classroom

Approved by NCTE Members Voting at the Annual Business Meeting for the
Board of Directors and Other Members of the Council, November 2016


Ratified by a Vote of the NCTE Membership, February 2017




NCTE acknowledges that current national discourse has revealed strong fault lines in the interactions among teachers, students, and communities. In light of this, it is important to reaffirm NCTE’s commitment to its core values, especially with regard to diversity and advocacy.


The English language arts play a central role in providing opportunities for complicated communications across ideas that may be contentious.


Teachers and students should engage in conversations beyond narrow discourse communities. The classroom should be a space where all voices are recognized, where difficult conversations can be explored, and where communication in all its forms -- written, digital, oral, visual -- is used as a tool to help people enact their ideas and interact with each other. Pedagogy that aims for equity can facilitate these communications. Respectful disagreements develop not only empathy but also engaged, responsible citizens. Be it therefore




Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English

  • reaffirm its core value of diversity by helping educators create classrooms where students develop voices that make them effective participants in academic and public discourses, where multiple forms of literacy are explored, where censorship is abhorred, and where difference is valued in pursuit of an education befitting a democracy;

  • reaffirm its core value of advocacy by keeping members up-to-date on issues of public policy and by supporting educators who collectively and individually influence educational policy and legislation based upon what is known about language and learning; and

  • amplify its efforts to engage its members in critical scholarship and reflection on contemporary discourse and the English Language Arts classroom.



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