Conference Theme: Writing and Reading Beyond the Classroom
At times, educators talk about the space outside of school as the “real world.” This implies that, to some degree, the work that our students do isn’t real and, likewise, that our classroom work has no real bearing upon our students’ lives. But how would it change our teaching and our students’ learning if we deliberately blurred the distinctions between worlds and committed ourselves to teaching about real problems, real genres, real audiences, and real issues?
Our speakers for this year’s conference challenge us to get out of the classroom, to look beyond the walls of school to readings, literacies, ideas, and voices that have not always been central to the traditional school experience. Whether it’s honoring the pleasure of “non-school” reading, introducing voices from other times and worlds, or teaching the power of poetry in performance, Jeff Wilhelm, Jane Yolen, and Glenis Redmond dare us to provoke vibrant discussion about a diversity of experiences, encourage struggling writers and readers, and inspire students to be better communicators and better citizens.
In the spirit of writing and reading beyond the classroom, we encourage proposals that address how teachers and students use “non-school” literacies in the classroom, how we might integrate questions about diversity and human rights into our curricula, how pedagogies such as project based and problem based learning can help students understand the value of reading and writing, and how we can better listen to the ideas that students bring to us from outside of the classroom.