The power of student voice has been thrust into national consciousness. Students are motivated, and the country is listening.
As English teachers, we regularly help students construct identities through voice. We champion students’ potential and empower them with the writing, speaking, listening and rhetorical skills to craft what they have to say and how to say it.
Civic circumstances have raised the stakes.
Synthesis, source evidence, analysis, narrative and argumentative writing—all underlying core standards—are being activated in real world application: expressing perspective in service of making our communities better. Civic voice. Let’s take advantage of this moment to reflect on best practices raising and sustaining civic voices.
The theme of this year’s CT-CTE conference, Raising Civic Voices, is a play on the NCTE conference in Houston next November: Raising Student Voice: Speaking Out for Equity and Justice. Our aims are similar. In the words of Franki Sibberson, 2018 NCTE Conference Chair,
Teachers, and teachers of teachers, have both the opportunity and responsibility to create environments in which students can use their voices in powerful ways. Doing so can be a gateway to equity and justice.
Let’s collaborate on that charge and produce a conference on student voice from the Connecticut perspective. And let’s honor the unique moment we, students and teachers, occupy together. We arm our classrooms with books and pens; may the voices we support put an end to violence.
Kris Nystrom, Ed.D. CT-CTE Conference Chair CALL FOR PROPOSALS: To submit a proposal click HERE to access our google form. Proposals are due by Friday, April 20th. We will gather in May to share ways that we raise civic voices in our classrooms. The CT-CTE Conference is a chance to express your voice as a prospective, new, or veteran teacher. Consider sharing best practices in reading or writing, useful strategies for motivating reluctant speakers, proven tactics for giving feedback, unique lessons that inspire critical thinking, relevant connections across content areas, dips into research projects that offer insight…the options are up to you. As new members of the CT-CTE (we’re all new), what we present at this conference becomes the first stamp of our identity as an organization. Please consider participating as a presenter in any way you see fit that reflects on this year’s theme. Think about the following questions as prompts for your proposal:
What current best practices teaching reading, writing, and/or speaking inform civic voices?
What current best practices teaching speaking and/or listening inform civic voices?
How do you motivate reluctant readers, writers, and/or speakers?
What strategies for giving feedback are you finding particularly effective?
How do you facilitate productive classroom conversations about difficult or controversial topics?
How do you teach difficult or controversial topics in literature?
What can literature teach us about civic voice?
How can engaging in civic voice serve as a vehicle for developing critical thinking?
In what ways can we partner with other disciplines to explore and develop civic voice?
How can we help students explore and develop civic voices to make their communities better?
How do we support student perspectives in writing and/or speaking about equity and justice?
How do we prepare teacher candidates to support and develop student voices?
How do we develop cultural competence in English classrooms?
How can we leverage technology to serve civic voice?
How do educators use their civic voices? In what ways are educators civic voice role models for students?