Raising Student Voice: Speaking Out for Equity and Justice
November 15–18, 2018
Workshops: November 15 and 18–19
George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX
Our students’ voices matter. Their voices matter in our schools, our communities, and beyond. As teachers, we want our students to discover their own voices. We want them to know the power of their voices. We want them to know the power of others’ voices, and we want them to know the power of their collective voices. Most important, we want to help them discover how their voices might impact our world and to be empowered to use their voices to speak out for equity and justice.
Stories can help our students discover and clarify their own voices. Stories can help us to know our world better. Stories can help us to understand our world and the people in it. Authors, teachers, and librarians work to ensure that every child has books, digital texts, and other media in which they see themselves. They also work so that students have books that can help them understand others. Our students deserve stories that impact who they are and who they can become. They deserve stories that help them understand people and situations that are different from their own. They deserve stories that help them build confidence and empathy. They deserve books that validate their world as well as books that challenge their views. And most important, they deserve to tell their own stories.
Digital tools invite our students to document and share their experiences with the world and to connect with others who are sharing their unique stories. Digital tools also offer unique opportunities to seek truth and challenge the status quo. Connecting with others often builds understanding and helps harness the power of a collective voice. Online spaces open the possibilities for students to expand their communities and to use their voices in active ways to make change when they see a need.
Our classrooms can be places where our students discover who they are, who they might become, and the issues that they care about. They can be places where our students learn to use their voices to build understanding, connect with others, and create change. They can be places where students discover the power of community and collective voice. They can be places where our students feel empowered to make change.
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. In thinking about this year’s theme, begin with these questions:
- How can we create learning environments where every student’s voice is valued?
- How can we prepare future teachers to honor student voice, and know how to support it inclusively, across multiple media?
- What opportunities do our students have to document and share their perspectives? Their stories?
- How can our students use their voices to create change in their communities?
- Whose stories are valued in our classrooms? Whose stories are missing?
- How can we curate classroom and school libraries that open doors for our students?
- How can our students use digital tools to understand their world and to help others understand issues they care about?
- How can our students use digital tools to share their stories?
- How can our students use writing to speak out for equity and justice?
- In what ways are students empowered in our schools and communities?
- What is our role in supporting our students in sharing their stories?
- What is our role in supporting our students in creating change?
- How do we create classrooms that value childhood and humanity?
- How do we, as educators, raise our voices against injustices, acting as models for our students to raise their voices?
When we meet in Houston, Texas, in November 2018, it is my hope that we will focus on the ways literacy creates change and the ways in which our students can raise their voices to impact their communities. NCTE members create spaces for students to sound their voices. In 2018, we’ll come together in Houston to celebrate our students’ voices and the impact they make in the world.
2018 Program Chair
- Use this online form to submit your proposal.
- The NCTE online proposal system will close at 11:59 p.m. EST, January 16, 2018.
- For more information about proposal specifics, please click here.
Dates and Deadlines:
- December 27, 2017: Deadline to request an online coach for proposals (requests should be made via the option within the proposal system)
- January 16, 2018, 11:59 p.m. EST: Deadline to submit proposals for NCTE 2018
- Mid-April, 2018: Notifications of acceptance/decline are sent by email
- June 18, 2018: Deadline to accept all invitations to present
- August 31, 2018: Deadline for all program participants to register for the Convention and be included in the print program