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
Current Columns (through July 2023)
Books in Review Michelle Zoss
NWP Voices Jennifer Dail
The Future Is Now Luke Rodesiler and Alan Brown
Teaching Shakespeare Kevin Long and Mary T. Christel
Poetry Peter Elliott and Alexa Garvoille
Future Columns (beginning September 2023)
Black Youth Futures Stephanie Toliver
Critical Approaches to Literature Study Jeanne Dyches
Reimagining Research Tiffany DeJaynes
Teaching and Composing Today Deb Kelt
Teaching Multilingual Learners in ELA Classrooms Melody Zoch
LGBTQIA+ Intersectional Identities Stephanie Anne Shelton
Critical Curations: Developing Rich Text Sets Nicole Amato and Katie Priske
The Future is Now Melinda McBee Orzulak and Danielle Lillge
Poetry Peter Elliott and Alexa Garvoille
Books in Review (through Sept 2023)
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.
NWP Voices (through Sept 2023)
The Future Is Now (through 2023)
Associate Professor of Education, Purdue University Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Associate Professor of English Education
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Since 2013, the “Future Is Now” roundtable session at the NCTE Annual Convention has provided a platform for prospective and early career teachers to present research, offer ideas, and share experiences as they prepare to enter the teaching profession. Inviting the next generation of English language arts teachers into the professional discourse benefits everyone. Experienced teachers may be introduced to novel perspectives—views that prod them to reconsider their practices and convictions about teaching English—while novices stand to sharpen their thinking, extend their development, and advance their budding expertise.
This column is committed to featuring the research, experiences, and creative activities of prospective and early career teachers. Submissions about teaching and learning in the ELA classroom, the development of prospective and early career teachers, and related topics are welcomed. Likewise, we encourage collaborations with others, including veteran teachers and university faculty. Authors might consider questions such as these: How do the methods you have learned through teacher education support your aims as an educator? What challenges have you encountered on initial entry into the classroom, and how are you working to overcome them? What texts have you found particularly helpful while developing your pedagogy? How and why do your instructional methods break from traditional classroom practices? Submissions grounded in scholarship are preferred.
Please send submissions of 1,200–1,400 words as a Microsoft Word file to Luke Rodesiler at email@example.com. Inquiries about potential submissions are also welcomed.
Teaching Shakespeare (through 2023)
Associate Professor of Theatre
William Rainey Harper College
Mary T. Christel
Retired English Teacher
Adlai E. Stevenson High School
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 editors invite 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 the editors, Kevin Long and Mary T. Christel, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions of 1,200–1,400 words should be sent as attachments.
Lone Star College
University Park, Texas
MFA Program, Creative Writing
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 teach- ing 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.
Black Youth Futures (beginning Sept 2023: Sept/Jan/May)
Column Editor: Stephanie Toliver, PhD
University of Colorado Boulder
Over the past few decades, calls have abounded to prominently foreground the language and literacy practices of Black youth. Scholars have called for more attention to the historical literacies of Black people in hopes that educators see the inherent genius within Black youth (Muhammad 13). They have asked for teachers to consider the ways in which Black youth engage in play with text, genre, language, and each other (Baker-Bell 8; Gaunt 3; Bryan 74). They have demanded that educators uplift Black young people as they challenge the anti-Blackness embedded within school systems (Coles 36; Love 12), and they have implored educational stakeholders to make space for Black youth to imagine worlds in which they are free to experience the full range of humanity: love, anger, joy, excitement, sadness, pride, hope, and all the emotions in between (Toliver 85; Turner 128).
It is within these calls that this column exists. Specifically, this column is dedicated to the teachers, teacher educators, community members, and young people who are committed to the liberatory futures of Black youth. It is for all who imagine and create alongside young Black folx to ensure that the next generation of Black youth can thrive. With this in mind, this column welcomes commentary that attends to the expansive language and literacy lives of Black young people. Toward this goal, authors might consider questions such as the following: What texts (written by and about Black people) have you found particularly useful in the classroom? How have you made space for Black joy, Black dreams, Black genius, and Black pride in your classroom, research, and/or community work? What assignments have you created that enable Black youth to voice their concerns about the world? What does the future of education, schools, or schooling look like for Black youth?
Rather than just accepting traditional practitioner articles (i.e., research essay, nonfiction, or narrative nonfiction), this column aims to be as expansive as Black youth’s literacies. Thus, poems, narratives, comics, paintings, and the like are also welcome. Please send submissions of 1,200-1,400 words as a Word document to Stephanie Toliver at email@example.com. Inquiries about potential submissions are also welcomed.
Critical Approaches to Literature Study (beginning Sept 2023: Nov/Mar/July)
Column Editor: Jeanne Dyches, PhD
Iowa State University
In this column, authors present pedagogical possibilities for teaching literature in critical ways. While critical approaches to literature study take up, examine, confront, and address systems of power, they can also illuminate joy, creativity, community, and agency as forms of resistance.
This column offers possibilities for engaging with literature as a vehicle for opening up justice-oriented conversation and just futures. Importantly, columns target the how of literature study—that is, ways in which teachers, students, and stakeholders of ELA exercise agency—rather than the what. Column authors may illuminate literature study approaches utilizing a variety of genres. We welcome columns that examine ways to teach subversively with canonical texts, foster critical literacies using young adult literature, pair literary non-fiction with current events, or decenter the role of specific texts entirely. Columns should be 1,200-1,400 words in length; email questions and submissions (as a Word document) to Jeanne Dyches (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reimagining Research (beginning Sept 2023: Nov/Mar/July)
Column Editor: Tiffany DeJaynes, PhD
Lehman College, City University of New York
This column aims to highlight thoughtful conversations about youth as knowledge generators, rethink the dominance of the traditional research paper in English language arts classrooms, and consider the ways in which young people’s original research can inform public policies and activism. As such, the column publishes accounts of youth conducting research in innovative ways in schools and communities; research innovations might include collaborative, multimodal, digital, action-oriented, community-focused, or arts-based practices.
Educators employing research practices that creatively engage young people in critical participatory action research, archival research, working with unconventional sources, or creatively sharing and disseminating research and more are invited to share their curricular approaches and lessons learned. Please contact Tiffany DeJaynes to discuss ideas for the column or send manuscripts of 1,200–1,400 words as Word documents to email@example.com for consideration.
Teaching and Composing Today (beginning Sept 2023: Sep/Jan/May)
Column Editor: Deb Kelt, MA
The University of Texas at Austin
As many teachers will attest, it is often thrilling to sit knee-to-knee with a youth writer. When they share writing—often filled with details about their families, cultures, languages, identities, frustrations, hopes, and more—we are awestruck. Katherine Bomer has taught us that writing teachers get to spend entire days surrounded by “the extraordinary beauty, freshness, and … brilliance of student writing.” (Bomer 125). A writing classroom can often feel like an intricate tapestry of human experience, woven together with the words and work of teachers and students.
This column is seeking submissions that feature youth’s writing alongside stories of the teaching that supported them. Writing teachers, from in- or out-of-school contexts, are encouraged to share stories that illustrate the teaching of writing in our world right now. We are interested in seeing all kinds of work—from both novice writers and experienced writers alike, writers working in many languages, writers composing in various genres, as well as work that is in process or finished. The complexity of teaching writing has only grown over the last few years: the COVID-19 pandemic, political upheaval, ongoing racial violence, and censorship have challenged youth writers and their teachers. What have you learned while teaching writing during these times? What student work illuminates the journey you took together? We want to hear about inquiries you undertook with students as they composed, highlighting your work as a writing teacher along with the pieces students produced during these explorations. Tell us the story of your student(s) and your work together, sharing both the brilliant teaching moves you made and the struggles you encountered.
We invite you to share your teaching insights with writing, and we cannot wait to see the student work that resulted—work you had the honor and privilege of seeing first, sitting knee-to-knee with writers in your precious classroom. Please send submissions of 1,200-1,400 words as a Word document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching Multilingual Learners in ELA Classrooms (beginning Sept 2023: Sep/Jan/May)
Column Editor: Melody Zoch, PhD
University of North Carolina-Greensboro
Multilingual learners (MLs) are the fastest growing group of students entering US public schools. In the next few years, an estimated one out of every four school-aged children will speak a language other than English at home. ELA teachers must be deft at addressing the needs of MLs, which can include drawing on their funds of knowledge (Moll et al. 71), embracing their identities as MLs, and understanding the challenges language-minoritized learners and their families may experience. Too often, middle- and high school spaces privilege monolingual instructional models where English language and literacy proficiency are considered the norm. This is counter to the needs of MLs, whose linguistic repertoires should be honored rather than repressed or punished.
This column seeks to amplify the voices of ELA teachers who are committed to the growth and well-being of MLs. The column editor invites submissions that feature research, examples of practices, and reflections on practice that support MLs in the ELA classroom. All submissions should engage asset-based approaches to discussing and supporting MLs in equitable ways. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the incorporation of translanguaging practices (García et al. 256), how identity work and affirmation are explored in the ELA classroom, and using culturally sustaining practices (Paris and Alim 85). Questions authors might explore include: In what ways does language intersect with other identities? In what ways do you incorporate families and the community in your teaching of MLs? In what ways do you engage MLs in exploring activism and social justice issues in the ELA classroom? What are some critical incidents (Tripp 8) that have shaped your teaching of MLs? What specific strategies and texts have supported your MLs?
Please send inquiries and submissions of 1,200-1,400 words as a Word document to email@example.com.
LGBTQIA+ Intersectional Identities (beginning Sep 2023: Nov/Mar/July)
Column Editor: Stephanie Anne Shelton, PhD
University of Alabama
The acronym LGBTQIA+ incorporates ranges of identities and expressions related to genders and sexualities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual individuals. LGBTQIA+ youth are present in classrooms world-wide and are among the most vulnerable; however, substantial research demonstrates that supportive teachers make incredible differences in LGBTQIA+ students’ lives and school experiences.
LGBTQIA+ 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, ablebodiedness, and language usage. They also live and learn in specific geographic and cultural contexts. Their LGBTQIA+ identities constantly intersect with these many factors; efforts to provide equitable, respectful, and effective learning spaces necessitate intersectional understandings of LGBTQIA+ issues in schools.
This column seeks to share English educators’ stories on how they learn about, recognize, and affirm intersectional LGBTQIA+ identities. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, instructional strategies that explore LGBTQIA+ issues as intersecting with other identities or contexts; case studies of efforts to engage students or colleagues in intersectional considerations of LGBTQIA+ issues; and reflective narratives that explore how awareness of intersectional LGBTQIA+ 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.
Critical Curations: Developing Rich Text Sets for Middle Grade and Secondary Classrooms (beginning Sept 2023: Sep/Jan/May)
Column Editors: Nicole Amato, MA and Katie Priske, MA
University of Iowa
“Curate: Make meaning for oneself and others by collecting, organizing, and sharing resources of personal relevance.” —American Association of School Librarians, 2018
Critical curation invites both students and teachers to take critical stances and “explore multiple perspectives, challenge dominant ideologies, and include marginalized voices within and beyond the literary canon” (Lechtenberg 3). Alongside the importance of curation is the importance of representation, which as Hamad asserts has “real world consequences” (27). Work around the importance of curation and representation has been ongoing in English language arts spaces. We align this column with the work of #DisruptTexts, asserting that curriculum choices are never neutral, and curriculum must center Black, Indigenous, and other voices of color (Ebarvia et al.).
We believe critical curation of texts in the ELA classroom is an exploratory practice that honors curiosity and inquiry. These curations aim to support teachers in critical literacy and critical inquiry work within and beyond the classroom. This column is guided by the following questions: 1) What themes and issues are urgent points of discussion in 7-12 literacy classrooms? 2) How can ELA teachers and librarians collaboratively curate multimodal and multigenre text sets for their students? We invite essays dedicated to exploring these questions while curating texts (broadly defined) around critical topics for discussion in ELA classrooms, such as but not limited to race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability. We aim to curate and review 3-5 texts per column around a central topic.
Please contact Nicole Amato and Katie Priske to discuss ideas for the column or send your essays of 1,200–1,400 words as Word documents for consideration to email@example.com.
The Future is Now (new editorship beginning Sept 2023: Nov/Mar/July)
Column Editors: Melinda McBee Orzulak, PhD
Danielle Lillge, PhD
Illinois State University
In November 2023, the “Future Is Now” roundtable sessions at the NCTE Annual Convention will celebrate a decade of providing opportunities for beginning English teachers to present their scholarship. Building on the strength of these sessions, this column shines a light on the inquiries of beginning ELA teachers, who are navigating the early stages of their professional learning journeys as preservice or inservice teachers with one to four years of teaching experience.
Acknowledging that none of us—beginning and veteran teachers alike—have arrived, we invite submissions that foreground a genuine question which drives beginning teachers’ inquiries through teaching, research, or creative activity. We encourage authors to illuminate the origins of their question in relation to their own experiences as well as in relation to other voices—whether students, colleagues, mentors, researchers, parents, authors, creators, or other stakeholders. And we urge authors to explore layered considerations that lead to possibilities for future learning, teaching, research, or creative activity. Instead of easy fixes, simple solutions, or truisms, let us highlight what we gain from assuming an inquiry stance in scholarly conversation with others as we look to the future by celebrating the nuance and complexity of ELA teaching.
We seek to support beginning teacher authors who, through their writing, will join and shape the conversations in our field of ELA. Toward that end, we invite single-author submissions as well as those coauthored with colleagues, mentors, or students. Please send submissions of 1,200–1,400 words as a Word document to the editors, Melinda McBee Orzulak and Danielle Lillge, at EJfutureisnow@gmail.com. Include in your email your full name(s), school affiliation(s), and the main email contact for the lead author, if the submission is coauthored. Inquiries about potential submissions are also welcomed.
For general EJ Submission Guidelines, click here.