Proposal Tips - National Council of Teachers of English
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Proposal Tips

As we head into the winter break, we know many educators are considering their #NCTE19 proposals, especially with the deadline approaching (January 16, 2019, 1:00 p.m. EST). Submitting for the Annual Convention for the first time can be a daunting experience—but members of the NCTE community are here to help! During our December #NCTEchat and on a recent survey, we asked for proposal advice. Here is what people shared:



One thing I struggle with is knowing #NCTE19 is 10 months away. That’s practically a whole school year of teaching and PD reading/learning that can shape my thinking. So I need to write a proposal that allows room for expansion of my own inquiry over the year.


  1. Think of practice, curriculum, texts, something that you are excited to share on theme.
  2. Think of people you’d like to be in conversation with in a session.
  3. How does this session amplify voices and experiences that have been marginalized (content, presenters)?
  4. Write up your email, text, FB/IG/Twitter message (I’ve done all in the past for conference planning) to potential co-presenters with a Google Doc link to your ideas. People can add and feel a part of the process.
  5. If this is your first time, talk to people who’ve presented.


Think about what you like to get out of sessions, work on proposals early, do your research, and brainstorm with people who are smarter than you (this is always my #1 strategy).




It seems sessions should focus on student choice and collaboration amongst students to produce authentic work for an authentic audience across subject areas in order to truly fit the bill of “spirited inquiry.”


I’ve reviewed many proposals in the past. Appreciate those that clearly describe what they will DO. With this conference theme, perhaps be judicious in how (if) you use “inquiry” or “spirited” in the title. #NCTEChat




If you have multiple ideas for what you can focus your proposal on, don’t try to make it all fit into one proposal. Pick the one you feel the most passionate about or that you feel the most prepared for and focus your proposal on that. Note down the other ideas for the future. #NCTEchat


  1. Be clear about your intentions for participants. What would you like your audience to gain from your presentation?
  2. Discuss research / pedagogical shifts that inform your presentation topic. How can you support participants’ use of your ideas at their own school sites?
  3. Indicate how your presentation topic fits within a larger instructional focus. How might your audience incorporate your ideas into their own curriculum unit?

Karen Yelton-Curtis



If you are thinking about submitting, DO IT! Don’t let self doubt or imposter syndrome creep in & hold you back. Every teacher has something to share!


Don’t be afraid to submit!!! Be thorough with your description yet summarize in a nutshell.



Do you have proposal tips to share?

Post your tips and ideas to #NCTE19. Many who are planning on submitting proposals are already using that hashtag to connect and learn. Your advice is valuable!