English Language Arts
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Call for Proposals
Advocacy and Activism: English Language Arts Teacher Education to Save the World
July 18-21, 2019
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Proposal announcements will be send by early April 2019.
“Post-election , the country and our field are faced with a moment of civic reckoning. A mandate, to recognize and guide youth’s politicized identities within classrooms, must be taken up by teacher educators” (Garcia & Dutro, 2018, p. 380). The time is now to reinvent and reinvigorate what it means to prepare English teachers, but doing so without building on the foundation of leadership, scholarship, tradition, and resolve on which our profession was built would be foolhardy.
It wasn’t that long ago that preparing English teachers seemed mostly about helping our students help their future students to become readers, writers, and thinkers. To be effective, new teachers needed to know certain things and needed to know how to do certain others. It is clear that being able to teach English today requires more and different skills than ever. While the conference committee admits that it might be hyperbole to suggest that we—our profession—can really save the world, we believe that we should all do as much as we can with that goal in mind. Teaching English Language Arts (ELA) means helping citizens engage in the entire world of meaning and communication; our students’ students will shape the future, and it should be our goal to equip them in ways that will enable them to develop a sustaining physical environment and a thriving people. We therefore envision the 2019 English Language Arts Teacher Educators Summer Conference in these terms: Advocacy and Activism: English Language Arts Teacher Education to Save the World.
What might this look like? One can take even a cursory glance around our beloved field to see colleagues engaged in just such activism and resistance. At the 2017 Summer Conference in Columbus, Ohio, Allen Webb and Richard Beach held a social action on behalf of the earth and the realities of climate change that attracted local media and engaged attendees. At the 2017 NCTE Annual Convention, all members were invited to participate in a march and silent protest. Members are engaging as public intellectuals on blogs and social media and working to draw out the same skills in their students. In February 2018, a Tweet by high school English teacher Jennifer Ansbach about the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School went viral (retweeted by over 70 thousand and liked by over 250 thousand): “I’m not sure why people are so surprised that the students are rising up—we’ve been feeding them a steady diet of dystopian literature showing teens leading the charge for years[. . . . ] What, you thought it was fiction? It was preparation.”
Questions to consider:
- What does it mean to save the world as an English teacher or English educator?
- Whose voices are presently silenced? Why?
- How can we create opportunities for people who have been systemically marginalized?
- What is the role of the English teacher/English educator in terms of advocacy and activism?
- Where in the English language arts curriculum are advocacy and activism possible?
- How do we help new teachers navigate an advocacy stance in school systems that have not traditionally been receptive?
The English Education program at the University of Arkansas (UA) is proud to host the 6th summer conference. UA is located in Fayetteville and, simply put, Fayetteville rocks. J. William Fulbright and Hillary and Bill Clinton taught at the law school on campus, with Fulbright attending Kindergarten through twelfth grade in the building where part of the conference will be hosted. His vision of peace through education resonates across the world—and within our field—through the Fulbright Scholars program. Fayetteville High School was the first integrated public school in the south. Consistently ranked as one of the most desirable places to live and a top-rated college town, Fayetteville boasts a thriving arts scene, hundreds of miles of on- and off-road bike trails, and a picturesque and welcoming setting in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.
Proposal announcements will be sent by early April 2019.
Proposals should demonstrate a connection to the conference theme while focusing on topics of interest to English teacher educators, teachers, and graduate students. Proposals should connect to one or more of the following thematic topics:
- Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice
- Anti-Racist Pedagogies
- Arts and Literacy
- Technology and 21st Century Literacies
- National Policies and Mandates
- Advocacy: Local, National, Global
Additionally, five strands were created by the conference committee and will be running throughout the conference. Please check your top two choices that best fit your professional learning interests. Attendees will have the opportunity to work within one of the five strands during the conference, ultimately making progress towards advocacy and activism individually and collectively to transcend our time together.
- Strand One: Using Social Media/Being a Public Intellectual
- Strand Two: Community-based Learning and Inquiry
- Strand Three: Youth Participatory Action Research as Activism
- Strand Four: Political Activism
- Strand Five: Writing for the Public: Everyday Advocacy
The Graduate Student Session will be held on the last day of the conference. Graduate students who wish to participate should plan to stay through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 21, 2019, for sessions focused on topics of interest to future academics.
Roundtable Conversations (1 hour)
Roundtable sessions will consist of 4–5 individual presenters who briefly introduce a specific dialogue-provoking topic that situates and supports focused conversation for roundtable attendees. Roundtable sessions should not consist of lengthy one-sided presentations but focus on developing thoughtful discussion over the hour provided. If you are proposing a full roundtable session, submit one proposal that includes the required information for all presenters; otherwise the conference planners will match you with other roundtables to create (as best as possible) a coherent roundtable session.
Panel Discussions (1 hour)
Panel discussions will consist of 2–3 individual presentations around a common theme. Each panelist will offer a 15- to 20-minute presentation, and then all panelists will engage in a brief discussion of the panel’s common theme. If you are proposing a complete panel, submit one proposal that includes the required information for all panelists; otherwise, the conference planners will match you with other panelists to create (as best as possible) a coherent panel.
Workshop Sessions (1 hour)
Workshop sessions will engage participants in a focused activity grounded in the conference theme. Led by 1–3 facilitators, workshops will provide an introduction to and contextual support for a specific activity that will allow participants to produce a tangible product of some sort in the time provided.
- Name and affiliation
- Postal address
- Email address
- Title of presentation or session
- Abstract (maximum 50 words)
- Description (maximum 250 words)—include topic, rationale, significance, and plans for engaging the audience
- Names and information of others to be included in the session or strand, if applicable