2019 NCTE Annual Convention

Baltimore, MD
November 21-24, 2019

This fall, when we come together in Baltimore, let’s inquire together. Let’s dare to wonder, to be bold and creative in our curiosity. Let’s reawaken our own spirit of inquiry as teachers, leaders, writers, readers, and thinkers.


2019 Call for Proposals

Spirited Inquiry

November 21–24, 2019
Workshops: November 21
ALAN Workshop & CEL Convention: Nov. 25–26
Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD


Leah Zuidema
Leah Zuidema, 2019 NCTE Annual Convention Program Chair

My life as an educator has been filled with a spirit of inquiry. I hope that yours has too. Do moments like these sound familiar?

  • A student who puzzled me: “He seems so sure that he doesn’t like reading and never will. I wonder how to help him love it.”
  • A jaw-dropping moment of awe: “This student’s short story is amazing. I hope that she keeps writing and that someday I will say, ‘I knew her when.’”
  • A challenge for my teaching: “How can I design a playful, inquiry-based grammar workshop that connects meaningfully to students’ reading and writing?”
  • A moment of marvel at how we are wired for language learning, when my toddler said: “Mom, we went backward and forward. Can we go sideward now?”
  • Questions that prompted research: “How can I know if my teaching helped students’ learning to ‘stick’? How can I study this and share it to help other teachers learn too?”

Inquiry requires us to pause—to stop and notice, and then to respond. What makes us inquire is more than just an unusual or remarkable person or event. People bypass potential moments of inquiry on a daily basis, moving forward in a rush or routine without giving a second thought to what may catch another person’s curiosity. To inquire, we must be willing to notice. We must also have the leisure and safety to wonder, to tarry and to question, to puzzle and delight.

What if a spirit of inquiry has been dulled, either in us or in our students? To inquire, we must adamantly believe that each person is instilled with a natural curiosity, as well as a capacity and desire to imagine, play, and seek surprise. Do you believe it?

How would learning and teaching be different if schools were designed to celebrate and foster inquiry? If teachers were encouraged to hold inquiry at the center of their pedagogy? If assessments helped to nurture inquiry, curiosity, and wonder? If administrators could create contexts for inquiry? If policymakers were its chief advocates? What if our students learned to use writing and reading to inquire? What if they wondered about words and how they work? What if their growing sense of inquiry also empowered them? What if students and teachers, in unleashing their curiosity, also grew their access, agency, power, and impact?

When we gather in Baltimore in November 2019, let’s inquire together. Let’s dare to wonder, to be bold and creative in our curiosity. Specifically, let’s focus on the role that spirited inquiry plays in English, language arts, literacy, and composition. As you develop proposals for this year’s theme, begin with these questions:

  • How can our curricular designs, learning environments, teaching methods, and assessments foster inquiry?
  • How do we ensure significant opportunities for inquiry for ALL students?
  • What can we learn about inquiry from our students? From our school colleagues who teach in other disciplines or offer academic support? Our communities?
  • How can digital tools help to spark inquiry for students and teachers?
  • What does it mean to take an inquiry stance as an ELA teacher, professor, or educator?
  • What does our teacher-research and other scholarship suggest about inquiry?
  • How do we help one another to wonder about things that matter, to learn more, and to share, connect, and act upon what we learn?
  • What do we do when our inquiries lead us to disagree with others’ ideas and conclusions?
  • How can we prepare future teachers to nurture a spirit of inquiry in their students and themselves?
  • How can we sustain and grow our curiosity? Our awe and delight as learners?

At our 2019 Convention, let’s reawaken our own spirit of inquiry as teachers, leaders, writers, readers, and thinkers.

Leah Zuidema
2019 Program Chair
NCTE President-Elect


Submitting Proposals

  • Use this online form to submit your proposal.
  • The NCTE online proposal system will close at 1:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, January 16, 2019.
  • For more information about proposal specifics, please click here.
  • Find answers to frequently asked questions related to proposals here.


Dates and Deadlines:

  • Monday, December 17, 2018: Deadline to request an online coach for proposals (requests should be made via the option within the proposal system)
  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 1:00 p.m. EST: Deadline to submit proposals for NCTE 2019
  • Late March, 2019: Notifications of acceptance/decline are sent by email
  • Friday, May 31, 2019: Deadline to accept all invitations to present
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2019: Deadline for all program participants to register for the Convention and be included in the print program