English Journal is NCTE's award-winning journal of ideas for English language arts teachers in junior and senior high schools and middle schools.
Columns and Column Editors
Books in Review Michelle Zoss
#Disrupt Texts Kim Parker, Julia Torres, Tricia Ebarvia, and Lorena Germán
Intersectional LGBTQ+ Identities Stephanie Anne Shelton
Journeys Inward Mary Ellen Dakin
Teaching Creative Writing Wendy R. Williams
Teaching Shakespeare Marty Frazier
Column Editor: Michelle Zoss
Associate Professor of English Education
Georgia State University
It is in moments of delight or surprise that we are open to new ideas, to rethinking, reimagining, renegotiating, or retooling. Teaching offers ample opportunities for surprise in conversations during work hours. But what about those times when we need something to remind us why we got into the profession in the first place? We can turn to books.
This book review column is organized around two thematic questions: What delights and surprises us? and What are we reading that sparks an idea about teaching in different, delightful ways? The column editor invites writers to consider the books that have altered their thinking about the teaching life and is especially interested in reviews of books that have influenced teachers’ beliefs about what might be possible in the classroom. A surprising idea can come from unexpected directions; therefore, this invitation is intentionally broad. The column may feature books that do not fit easily into the category of “professional development,” but that evoke thoughtful conversations. Please contact Michelle Zoss to discuss ideas for the column or send your book review essays of 1,200–1,400 words as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Kim Parker, Assistant Director, Teacher Training Center, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Julia Torres, Librarian, Denver Center for International Studies at Montbello, Denver, Colorado
Tricia Ebarvia, Chair, English Department, Conestoga High School, Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Lorena Germán, English Teacher, Headwaters School, Austin, Texas
As teachers, we can push for restorative practices that repair the historic harm inflicted on students who endure school systems that perpetuate racial inequities by challenging the traditional, White-centered canon to create a more inclusive, representative, and equitable language arts curriculum.
Educators must practice four principles for language arts equity: (1) interrogating our biases to understand how they inform our teaching practices; (2) centering the authentic voices and lived experiences of people of color; (3) applying a critical literacy lens to our teaching practices that is anti-racist, anti-colonial, and anti-bias; and (4) working in community with other educators, particularly Black, Indigenous, and educators of color.
This column is dedicated to supporting teachers who are committed to engaging themselves and their students in critical work that disrupts policies and curricula. The time for action and for dismantling and rebuilding our instructional practices toward justice is now. How have you engaged in any of the #DisruptTexts principles? What impact has your work had on students? What challenges have you faced, and how did you address these challenges?
We invite classroom practitioners to share best practices and sample work that can highlight how we might disrupt and reimagine our text selections and instructional practices to better serve all students.
Inquiries, submissions, or suggestions for future columns should be directed to Tricia Ebarvia at email@example.com. Submissions of 1,200–1,400 words should be sent as attachments.
Intersectional LGBTQ+ Identities
Column Editor: Stephanie Anne Shelton
Assistant Professor, Qualitative Research
The University of Alabama
The acronym LGBTQ+ incorporates ranges of identities and expressions related to genders and sexualities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual individuals. LGBTQ+ youth are present in classrooms worldwide and are among the most vulnerable; however, substantial research demonstrates that supportive teachers make incredible differences in LGBTQ+ students’ lives and school experiences.
LGBTQ+ students’ needs are shaped by more than gender identity, gender expression, or sexuality. Students navigate assigned, assumed, and self-asserted social categories, for example, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, able-bodiedness, and language usage. They also live and learn in specific geographic and cultural contexts. Their LGBTQ+ identities constantly intersect with these many factors; efforts to provide equitable, respectful, and effective learning spaces necessitate intersectional understandings of LGBTQ+ issues in schools.
This column seeks to share English educators’ stories on how they learn about, recognize, and affirm intersectional LGBTQ+ identities. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, instructional strategies that explore LGBTQ+ issues as intersecting with other identities or contexts; case studies of efforts to engage students or colleagues in intersectional considerations of LGBTQ+ issues; and reflective narratives that explore how awareness of intersectional LGBTQ+ identities has shaped
teachers’ professional identities.
Inquiries, submissions, or suggestions for future columns should be directed to Stephanie Anne Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions of 1,200–1,400 words should be sent as attachments.
Column Editor: Mary Ellen Dakin
Retired English Teacher and Literacy Coach
Revere High School
English teachers work at the crossroads of the epic and the everyday. We wander with our students through the terrain of literature, and we sometimes find that the texts we teach and the conversations they provoke challenge us to explore our own “inner landscapes.” These moments urge us to consider the kind of teacher we have been and also the kind of teacher we are becoming.
This column invites writers to craft authentic nonfiction narratives of self-discovery, redirection, and renewal. When have you seen your life reflected in the literature you teach and paused to ponder the implications? What specific events, situations, texts, classes, or ideas challenged the teacher within and sent you on a journey toward some greater understanding of your subject, your students, your world, and yourself? We are especially interested in lively, personal writing that shares specific classroom moments that inspired introspection, challenged your thinking, and pushed you to consider how who you are influences how you teach. We welcome submissions that showcase voice, sensory details, dialogue, and dynamic characterizations that encourage readers to reflect on their own teaching journeys.
Inquiries and submissions should be directed to Mary Ellen Dakin at email@example.com. Submissions of 1,500–1,800 words should be sent as an attachment.
Column Editor: Wendy R. Williams
Assistant Professor of English
Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication
College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
Arizona State University
In both school and out-of-school settings, young people are employing multiple modes, formats, and genres to share the stories that matter to them, and they are reaching authentic audiences through various platforms. Songs, spoken word poems, fan fiction, short films, animated works, and comics have taken their place alongside traditional poems, short stories, and novels.
This column invites teachers to consider how creative writing—broadly defined—can engage students as writers, thinkers, and activists. Each column will explore practices that readers will be able to implement in various teaching contexts. What activities, events, and community partnerships have inspired your students? How have you used creative expression to honor students’ experiences, backgrounds, and identities? How have your students used creative writing to examine social justice and current issues and events? How has your teaching of creative writing evolved in response to curriculum mandates and changing expectations from school districts?
Inquiries, submissions, or suggestions for future columns should be directed to Wendy Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions of 1,200 –1,400 words should be sent as attachments.
Column Editor: Marty Frazier
Upper School English Teacher and Department Chair
Hathaway Brown School
Shaker Heights, Ohio
This column serves as a forum for teachers to share instructional activities, innovative lessons, and useful tools they have developed to help students enter a Shakespearean text.
Writers for the column might consider how the strategies they discuss are relevant to those teaching struggling readers and emergent English learners, as well as those teaching students with advanced literacy skills. The editor invites stories about the language of the plays and poems, innovative ideas about staging, multimodal interpretations of the texts, and how reading Shakespeare may help students explore culture and identity.
Writers are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary approaches to Shakespeare, particularly how his works intersect with history, politics, economics, or other unique fields of study. We are particularly interested in examining how Shakespeare can be used in unexpected contexts or with unlikely text pairings. How might Shakespeare fit into a course on American literature or contemporary world literature?
Inquiries, submissions, or suggestions for future columns should be directed to Marty Frazier at email@example.com. Submissions of 1,200–1,400 words should be sent as attachments.
For general EJ Submission Guidelines, click here.