Conference Theme: “Accentuate the Positive”: Examining the Successes and Failures Navigated during COVID-19
Dates: 15 and 22 October 2021
Format: Virtual, including a Presentation Track and an Assignment Innovation Track
Deadline for Proposal Submission: 1 June [link forthcoming]
Background: At the 2019 TYCA-SW annual conference, keynote speaker Dr. Cristina Cedillo (University of Houston-Clear Lake) asked us to think about how our students’ embodied experiences were and could be part of the classroom. She reminded us that our literacies and languages provide opportunities to redefine and reshape Englishes and thus engage our writing projects in and out of classrooms. And she reminded us that the realities of food and housing insecurities, political spaces that erase and remove communities, and a host of other responsibilities are carried into our classrooms.
And then by March 2020, COVID-19 drastically, fundamentally altered all of our learning and teaching situations. 2020 was a crash course in the very things Cedillo had asked us to consider—and for many of us, we could literally see into the lives of our students and they into ours as we met virtually, trying to create learning spaces that maintained our institutional requirements and navigated the many new responsibilities we faced.
More than a year into this new teaching situation, the TYCA-SW Conference chairs would like our 2021 Annual Conference to be a space to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, how we innovated, how we failed, and ultimately what adjustments we’ve made to account for our students’ lives and our own outside the classroom. What changes have you made that were successful? What material have you read that has made you rethink teaching? What have you learned about how to best balance your demands? What can you share with our membership to help as we all keep moving forward.
The Call for Proposals: Because the 2021 Annual Conference will be virtual, the chairs invite proposals for a Presentation Track or an Assignment Innovation Track, both treated with equal weight for the conference. Accepted proposals for both tracks will receive additional information to prepare in advance of the conference.
For the Presentation Track, those interested should propose more traditional conference-style presentations to be delivered virtually, with individual 15-minute presentations placed within a panel, or proposals for a group panel related to the conference theme. Proposed presentation topics could include new (inter)disciplinary knowledge that has informed adjustments to your teaching, learning experiments you tried out in the classroom to meet specific student demands and the results, or approaches to course design to maximize student engagement in virtual learning situations. This list is not exhaustive, so the chairs encourage interested members submit proposals for additional ideas they think align with the conference theme. Successful proposals will explain the exigence for the presentation, its value to conference attendees, and its connections to the conference theme.
The Assignment Innovation Track asks for an original assignment innovation created over the last year to better address the educational context and outside lives of students paired with an explanation/rationale for the assignment. Successful assignment innovation proposals briefly explain the assignment (what the assignment requires, context used, learning outcomes met) and offer a rationale for the assignment tied to institutional contexts and research about student learning or approaches to teaching. Material for this track will be made available on the TYCA-SW website to share with all membership and the national organizations we’re connected with (NCTE, TYCA National, CCCC).