English Journal is NCTE's award-winning journal of ideas for English language arts teachers in junior and senior high schools and middle schools.
Calls for Manuscripts
All manuscripts should be submitted via the Editorial Manager system.
General Interest Submissions
We publish articles of general interest as space is available. You may submit manuscripts on any topic that will appeal to EJ readers. Remember that EJ articles foreground classroom practice and contextualize it in sound research and theory. As you know, EJ readers appreciate articles that show real students and teachers in real classrooms engaged in authentic teaching and learning. Regular manuscript guidelines regarding length and style apply.
Monsters and the Literary Imagination
Submission Deadline: March 1, 2022
Publication Date: November 2022
Editor: R. Joseph Rodríguez
“Whether in medieval art or in modern Disney cartoons, the dragon can strike us as far less horrific than he is meant to be, but in the final movement of Beowulf, he lodges himself in the imagination as wyrd rather than wyrm, more a destiny than a set of reptilian vertebrae.”
—Seamus Heaney (translator), Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, “Introduction”
“Monsters’ strange bodies mark them out as creatures which fail to fit into the world they inhabit. They are jarring because they do not adhere to the categories that govern everyone and everything else and so mark some sort of break in the way that the universe ought to work.”
—Fiona Mitchell, Monsters in Greek Literature: Aberrant Bodies in Ancient Greek Cosmogony, Ethnography, and Biology, “Introduction”
In his 2000 translation of Beowulf, Seamus Heaney notes that the dragon was awakened fifty years later in the Anglo-Saxon heroic epic. Moreover, he states that there is “something glorious in the way he manifests himself, a Fourth of July effulgence fireworking its path across the night sky.” In literary worlds, dragons and monsters accompany adolescent readers as they meet characters in varied dilemmas and situations. For instance, Grendel appears as a monster, demon, and fiend, while Grendel’s mother appears as vengeful, but with sparse description. Nonetheless, J. R. R. Tolkien argues that the three monsters are central and significant in the epic poem.
For this issue of English Journal, the editors invite articles about your language arts practices that engage students to consider fantasy, monsters, and the supernatural in literature. For instance, which literary works do students experience today that present monsters or other bodies alongside heroes and warriors? Which narrative forms and structures invite students into the storytelling, including literary elements such as allusion, aphorism, characterization, imagery, kenning, and symbol, among others? As Heaney and Mitchell note, how are monsters interconnected to beliefs, communities, destiny, fate, fellowship, or histories? Which texts, exercises, and methods invite students to consider the role of monsters in a literary work and the literary imagination of the authors themselves? How are important literary traditions established between teachers and students about monsters and the literary imagination?
Submission Deadline: May 1, 2022
Publication Date: January 2023
Editor: Toby Emert
[Digital video] production provides an artful new literacy super-tool that, with teacher support, can help students move out of passivity, alienation, and powerlessness.
—Suzanne Miller, “Toward a Multimodal Literacy Pedagogy: Digital Video Composing as 21st Century Literacy,” from Literacies, the Arts, and Multimodality
More than twenty years ago, Australian semiotician Gunther Kress suggested that a multimodal revolution had occurred in communication, displacing written language from its traditional centrality. And that observation predated smartphones, Web 2.0, YouTube, streaming services, and apps—technological innovations that rely on digital visual content. A few years earlier, multimedia performance artist Dana Atchley had staged a show, Next Exit, in which he told autobiographical stories around a campfire that was projected on a computer screen and showed short video clips to accompany the stories. Atchley is often considered the “father” of what we now think of as digital storytelling—the practice of combining personal narrative with multimedia. The development of easy-to-access, user-friendly, and inexpensive editing tools now allows even very young learners to create digital stories that can be shared with a wide audience within moments.
In this issue, the editors invite authors to write about adapting aspects of digital storytelling— which for Atchley and others began with autobiography—for the ELA classroom. We are especially interested in learning from teachers about assignments that needed more than one iteration to “get it right.” What new skill sets have you acquired to support students in creating digital content, and how did you learn the new skills? How are students—who are often more comfortable with technology than teachers—influencing the creation of new units, lessons, and projects that involve digital storytelling? How have you reimagined familiar writing assignments to highlight multimodality? When have you used digital stories created by others to enhance your instruction, and how have students responded? How do you see the future of digital storytelling and ELA instruction? What’s coming next?
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2022
Publication Date: March 2023
Editor: R. Joseph Rodríguez
“It didn’t matter how good I was at hiding, I knew they would always find me if they wanted. It was useless to blend in, to not bring attention to myself—speak neither too loud nor too soft. It didn’t matter if I perfected my English—speak like a person who is wandering but not lost. It was useless to try to negotiate two worlds at once when only one of them was visible while the other one threatened to collapse. And yet I tried, but it came at a price.”
—Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Children of the Land: A Memoir
The hemispheric Américas stretch from North America to South America and across countries, cultures, islands, languages, peoples, and territories. Various transactional agreements and treaties exist in records that reveal the challenges and survival of diverse people across the continent.
For this issue of English Journal, the editors invite articles about your language arts practices that engage students in studying the narratives of the hemispheric Américas and the varied political landscapes and changes. For instance, which literary works do students experience today that present the stories of becoming human and whole as citizens, residents, and travelers in the Américas? Which narratives hold students’ attention, engage them as thinkers and writers, and challenge their perspectives and views? As Castillo asks, how do our students explore their own migrations and movement in becoming themselves? Which texts, exercises, and methods do teachers adopt to explore dual language arts worlds, spaces, and borderlands? How are connections established between teachers and students about gaining one’s selfhood for affirmation?
Care-full Curricular Conversations
Submission Deadline: September 1, 2022
Publication Date: May 2023
Guest editors: Sarah Ruffing Robbins, Margaret Ann Robbins, and Liana Silva
“Why should we want to know a stranger when it is easier to estrange another?”
—Toni Morrison, The Origin of Others
In The Origin of Others, Toni Morrison describes how humans often “separate and judge those not in our clan as the enemy” or as the “deficient needing control” (3). She chronicles “diatribes” whereby one group seeks “to enforce their beliefs by constructing an Other” (5). Progressing to a hopeful conclusion, Morrison proposes an alternative, aligned with recent scholarship on cultural or intellectual humility and shaped by listening proactively to the Other to learn empathetically.
As educators committed to the power of the language arts, we know such listening is difficult, especially when we encounter ethical limitations in another’s views, or failures by the “Other side” to recognize historical truths, or unwillingness to listen in return. So how should we respond to Morrison’s bridge-building call? Perhaps nowhere is this challenge more pronounced than around forces mounted against curricula seeking to promote inclusiveness, equity, and perspectives critical of institutional structures impeding such goals.
For this issue, we invite teacher-writers to share experiences addressing Morrison’s mandate. This is not a naive call for success stories. We seek reflective accounts of attempts at bridge-building that evoked learning. How have you addressed recent challenges to new curriculum and/or to individual diverse texts? How have you engaged parents, administrators, political figures and/or other stakeholders in courageous, yet care-full, conversations? What creative paths have you cultivated for dialogue with differing views, such as a book club, coffee hour, or write-and-share? What social networks beyond your school sustain you, providing knowledge and emotional support for navigating conflicts with “Others”? What writing have you done (an op-ed, a letter to parents, a story about teaching to share with colleagues) that generated a thoughtful response? In the classroom, what texts (literature, rhetorical models, compelling media performances) or writing projects have enabled your students to have courageous yet care-full conversations across differences?
Teaching with Hope, Teaching for Justice
Submission Deadline: February 1, 2023
Publication Date: September 2023
New editorship: Amy Burke, Aimee Hendrix-Soto, and Mary Amanda (Mandy) Stewart.
For our first issue of EJ, we invite manuscripts that speak to the existing wisdom of practicing ELAR teachers and their students, literacy teacher educators, and literacy researchers. Over the last two years, we have collectively experienced a global pandemic, civil unrest and disobedience in response to police and state-sanctioned violence, and laws restricting and censoring content and texts. As always, some communities experienced significantly greater hardship and were disproportionately affected by these events.
In that spirit, we encourage submissions that may disrupt what is considered best practices or that question long-held assumptions about learners and literacy teaching. How have you adjusted your teaching in response to the new normals (e.g., pandemic adjustments, civil unrest, restrictive legislation and censorship)? Where have you found pockets of light that have allowed you to sustain yourself, your students, and your communities? In places where justice work seems impossible but is most crucially needed, what work you are doing?
As always, we also publish articles of general interest as space is available. You may submit manuscripts on any topic that will appeal to EJ readers. Remember that EJ articles foreground classroom practice and contextualize it in sound research and theory. As you know, our readers appreciate articles that show real students and teachers in real classrooms, engaged in authentic teaching and learning. Regular manuscript guidelines regarding length and style apply. Please email us at EnglishJournalEditors2023@gmail.com with any questions.
Speaking My Mind
We invite you to speak out on an issue that concerns you about English language arts teaching and learning. If your essay is published, it will appear with your photo in a future issue of EJ. We welcome essays of 1,000 to 1,500 words, as well as inquiries regarding possible subjects.
Editors: Peter Elliott, Lone Star College, University Park, Texas; and Alexa Garvoille, MFA Program, Creative Writing, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
“To live in this world / you must be able / to do three things: / to love what is mortal; / to hold it / against your bones knowing / your life depends on it; / and, when the time comes to let it go, / to let it go.” These words from Mary Oliver’s poem “In Blackwater Woods” speak not only to how to live in this world but also to how we learn and teach. As teachers, we hold against our bones so much that our lives depend on—helping a student, learning a difficult concept, speaking up for justice, or reading a favorite text—but then must learn to let go. In the pages of English Journal, we look to publish well-crafted poems that connect our readers to topics central to English education: the impact of reading and writing on young people, words and language, classroom stories, and reflections on teaching and learning. Poetry reminds us, as educators, how to live in this world.
Submit your work by emailing an attachment to email@example.com. Use the subject line “Poetry Submission for Review.” The first page of the attached document should be a cover sheet that includes your name, address, email, and a two-sentence biographical sketch. In your bio, include how long you have been a member of NCTE, if applicable, and a publishable contact email. Following the cover sheet, include one to five original poems in the same document. Though we welcome work of any length, shorter pieces (thirty lines and under) often work best for the journal. Poems must be original and not previously published. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, though writers must immediately withdraw from consideration any poems that are to be published elsewhere by contacting the editors via email.
Poets whose work is published will receive two complimentary copies of the issue in which their work appears. Additional inquiries about poetry submissions may be directed to the coeditors at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to reading and celebrating your work.
Teacher photographs of classroom scenes and individual students are welcome. Photographs may be uploaded to Editorial Manager at the address above in any standard image format at 300 dpi. Photos should be accompanied by complete identification: teacher/photographer’s name, location of scene, and date photograph was taken. If faces are clearly visible, names of those photographed should be included, along with their statement of permission for the photograph to be reproduced in EJ.
Cartoons should depict scenes or ideas potentially amusing to English language arts teachers. They can be submitted to Editorial Manager at the address above; we can accept any standard graphics format at 300 dpi.
For information on writing for the EJ columns, see the Columns and Column Editors page.
For EJ Submission Guidelines, see Write for Us.
For more information, contact email@example.com.