EDUCATION CANADA Writers’ Guidelines
Education Canada magazine is published four times a year by the Canadian Education Association and always available online. Rooted in the Canadian education experience and perspective, our English and French articles provide voice to teachers, principals, superintendents and researchers – a growing network of experts who examine today’s school and classroom challenges with courage and honesty. Pragmatic, accessible and evidence-based, Education Canada connects policy and research to classroom practice.
By sharing best practices, case studies, relevant research and first-person stories that capture the reality of today’s classrooms, Education Canada supports educators to address their day-to-day challenges head-on and is frequently used in staffrooms, seminars and lecture halls to stimulate discussion about educational reform. We actively challenge our readers to re-think their preconceptions about youth, learners, learning, teaching, and the definition of educational success.
1. CONTENT OF THE MAGAZINE
Content for each issue is determined by the editors (English and French), in consultation with the EdCan Network’s advisors and the Editorial Board. We strive for a variety of perspectives from various sectors and from different parts of the country.
Each issue has a theme section. Typically, three feature articles will make up the theme section. The remaining articles cover a broad range of educational issues and topics, selected for their relevance, interest and usefulness to educators. Most feature articles (in English) are between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
ISSUE 1: Welcoming Newcomer Students
With so many Canadian communities mobilizing to welcome Syrian refugee families, it is timely to look at best practices and emerging research around meeting the education needs of recent newcomers and refugee students.
Theme articles could include:
- ESL teaching
- Creating a comfortable / safe environment when everything is different
- Working with newcomer parents and families
- Children coming from trauma: what educators should understand
- Integrating non-English speakers into the classroom
- Social issues
ISSUE 2: School Closure
Declining enrolment is triggering school closures in many communities, and has especially severe implications for rural, remote and small-town communities. Few issues mobilize parent and student opposition like impending closures, and often with good reason. Loss of a school may cause personal hardship, such as long commutes for students, and threatens the viability of small communities.
This issue examines the problem of school closure from several perspectives. Are small schools truly as problematic as they are assumed to be? Are there innovative ways to help them continue to offer a varied and dynamic program? (For example, can online learning, multi-use of under-capacity school buildings, Skype connections with urban classrooms, etc. be used to increase the capacity and viability of under-enrolled schools?) When closure is inevitable, is there a better way to communicate with and support the families affected?
An important article within this theme could be a critique of the current “per student” funding model, which is based on economy of scale and renders small school unviable. Is it time to find a new model, one that funds schools according to their needs, not their numbers?
Deadline for queries is Nov 5, 2016.
ISSUE 3: Educator Well-being
Stress, burn-out, anxiety and emotional exhaustion among educators is increasing, and this problem is reflected in (for example), high stats for stress leave and stress-related illness. This is serious in itself, but it also hampers our ability to bring our best to our students or staff. What are the workplace factors that affect the wellness of educators and school leaders – and what can we do to protect and support their mental health and well-being?
Deadline for queries: Feb 25, 2017.
ISSUE 4: Working with Parents
Parental engagement is a complex, double-edged issue that affects every level of education, from the student at home to provincial policy. From the importance of parent support to a child’s progress at school, to the tensions around parent advocacy for their children’s individual needs, to the political clout groups of parents can wield (for good or ill), this theme has many potential facets. Some examples:
- Getting communication right to enable educational reform
- Enlisting parents as partners
- Working with newcomer families
- The impact of parent advocacy on educational policy
- Creating partnerships with parents of children with special needs
- When parents are the problem
- The role of parent councils
Deadline for queries: May 20, 2017.
In addition to feature articles, the magazine includes a number of regular departments that appear in most issues, and range from 700 to 1,500 words:
The Voice of Experience: This back-page department is a one-page (700-word) personal reflection on the experience of teaching and learning. Share an encounter with a student that re-affirmed your commitment to teaching, an experience that changed the way you look at things, or a personal experience that amplified your understanding as an educator or student. We hope this story will leave readers feeling moved, inspired, or re-connected with the value of our work as educators. We welcome submissions from teachers, students, parents and others who are intimately involved in education.
Promising Practices: This department showcases innovative programs and practices that are showing exciting results. Tell us how you got the project started, what obstacles you overcame, how students and other stakeholders responded, how you evaluated your success. This department typically runs from 1,000 to 1,500 words.
Viewpoint: An essay with, as the title suggests, a point of view. It is the magazine equivalent of a newspaper editorial. Your argument must be well-reasoned and well-supported, and ideally will tackle an area of controversy — a polarizing educational “hot topic.” This department most often runs at one page – 700 words.
Tech Savvy: A one-page (700 word) column to help educators up their edu-tech game. Whether covering best practices to safeguard privacy or providing teachers with ideas to better engage students, the focus is on using technology effectively to serve student engagement and learning goals.
Notre Monde Aujourd’hui / Global Perspectives: This is often (but not exclusively) a French department looking at international developments and issues in education.
School / Community: A department that explores relationships within the school community and between school and the greater community — everything from building a positive school climate to working with community volunteers to the importance of connecting kids with nature.
Book Review: We run one English and one French review per issue, running about 350 words. These are often related to the issue’s content theme.
Format and Style
Education Canada is a magazine, not a scholarly journal. Our readers are well-informed and concerned educators, but not necessarily academics.
With that in mind, we encourage authors to write in an informal, accessible style without compromising important information or analysis. Use real-life stories, examples, quotes from participants and first-person experiences to provide interest and to illustrate key points. Use sub-heads to provide visual interest and help the reader stay with you. Some material (such as lists of practical tips) may lend itself to being separated out into a sidebar box.
In keeping with this informal style, references (endnotes) should only be used when absolutely essential to give credit to material taken directly from other sources. Education Canada follows the University of Chicago Manual of Style for documentation (numbered citations and endnotes). Authors bear full responsibility for the accuracy of quotations and citations. Please restrict your endnotes to a maximum of 10.
Most feature articles are between 1000 and 2500 words. Departments run between 700 and 1500 words. We also welcome proposals for shorter articles.
2. PITCHING AN ARTICLE
As of 2017, Education Canada is being repositioned to become a more accessible magazine that invites in all readers who are interested in education. Understanding the ideas and style that we are looking for in Education Canada and striving to meet that criteria will greatly improve the chances of your proposal being selected. We give priority to authors who present:
- a compelling and valuable topic: “What do educators talk about when they’re together, and worry about when they’re alone?”
- subject matter expertise and/or solid research skills
- an accessible, readable, jargon-free writing style (see “Style Notes,” following)
A note to academics: Education Canada is interested in sharing valuable research theory with practitioners, and sharing valuable on-the-ground experience with researchers and administrators. That said, we are looking for more than the standard “research report.” We challenge researchers to use their study results and knowledge as a springboard to offer interpretation and recommendations for practitioners. What are the implications of the research for classroom practice or school/district leadership? Ask yourself, “What can readers take away from my article that will help them to do their jobs better?” An example is the 2015 article, “No More Math Wars,” in which neuroscientist Daniel Ansari cuts through an ideological, theoretical debate with the neuroscientific evidence on the most effective way to learn math.
To propose an article
Please email the editor a few paragraphs describing the focus of your article, why it’s a valuable or important topic, and how (in broad strokes) you would organize your material. Do bear in mind that our average article length is shorter than in many journals, so be sure that what you are “biting off” is not more than can be covered in a 1,000-2,000-word article. A writing sample is very helpful.
While we will consider completed manuscripts, a shorter query is preferred. It’s rare that a finished article is a close enough fit that we can use it.
We receive many article proposals, and have limited pages, so we sometimes have to reject strong article pitches simply because we are already overbooked.
All proposals will be acknowledged, and accepted or rejected (unless some deciding factor is pending), within one month of receipt. Please feel free to contact the editor if you have not heard from us after a month.
Education Canada does not accept articles that promote commercial products or programs. Please restrict mention of your business interests to your bio.
Send proposals for English articles to:
Holly Bennett, Editor
119 Spadina Ave., #705
Toronto, ON M5V 2L1
Tel: (705) 745-1419
Send proposals for French articles to:
Yolande Nantel, Rédactrice
119 Spadina Avenue, #705
Toronto, ON, M5V 2L1
Tel: (416) 591-6300
Fax: (416) 591-5345
3. EDITORIAL PROCESS
When a proposal has been accepted, the editor will establish a deadline for your draft submission with the author. Failure to provide copy by the agreed-upon deadline without prior approval of the editor may result in cancellation or postponement of publication.
Please read the Style Notes that follow before drafting your article. It will give you a clearer picture of what we mean by “magazine style” and pay off in a smoother editing process.
The final decision to publish an article, whether solicited or not, is made only after the complete text has been received. The editor reserves the right to reject material if its style or content is unsuitable for the magazine.
Following submission of your manuscript, you can expect several back-and-forths with your editor over the course of about six weeks. The editor will suggest changes to improve the clarity and readability of the manuscript or to adapt it to magazine format and style, and may shorten it as necessary. Authors may be asked to make revisions to make the article more relevant or accessible to our readers.
Authors will be given the opportunity to approve all editorial changes before final articles are submitted for layout. Notwithstanding that approval, the editor may make minor last-minute changes for space as necessary.
Search Engine Optimization
In order to make your article more easily discoverable online, you may be asked to integrate certain highly-searched relevant keywords into the body of your text. This is only so Google knows to recommend your article when people are searching for that topic using other words – the more a keyword is included, the more the system perceives your article to be tied to that topic. Contextual links to other Education Canada articles are also encouraged to improve search ranking.
Education Canada’s online version receives significant national and international traffic from a growing audience of web readers and researchers. This format also provides us with the flexibility to showcase web-exclusive articles.
Occasionally we will assign an article to run exclusively on our website. Sometimes it’s apparent that a submitted article is ideal for online presentation, which allows us, for example, to embed video links. As well, when we do not have as many editorial pages available in an issue as was expected, we may suggest running an article we don’t have room for as an online exclusive, as a timelier alternative to holding it back and waiting, perhaps through several publishing cycles, for an opportunity to run it in a future issue.
Online exclusives are submitted with the rest of the issue for archiving on educational databases, and are well promoted on the EdCan Network website and via social media. Since most of our readers come to us via the website, online exclusives have just as robust a readership as our print articles.
Except under exceptional circumstances, the EdCan Network does not pay for articles. In addition to their author copies, published authors will receive a complimentary one-year membership to the EdCan Network, which includes a subscription to Education Canada Magazine.
Education Canada articles are licensed under a non-exclusive Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License. Users are free to copy, distribute and transmit content for nonprofit purposes, provided it is distributed in its entirety, and proper credit is given to the author, Education Canada, and to the EdCan Network and its website http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada. Users may not alter, transform, or build upon content, nor may they use content for commercial purposes without the author’s permission.
As author, you retain copyright of the article and, once we have published it, are free to repurpose it.
4. STYLE NOTES: WRITING FOR EDUCATION CANADA
Education Canada is a magazine, not a scholarly journal. Our readers are well-informed and concerned educators, but they are not all academics, and some Education Canada articles are shared with parents and other lay readers.
Magazine writing is quite different from journal style, and we understand that this can be a steep learning curve for authors who have been trained in a more academic form. The editors are committed to working with you to achieve a more engaging, readable, magazine-style article without compromising important information or analysis. Some tips are offered below, as well as links to previous articles that demonstrate the kind of writing we are looking for:
Loosen up! Avoid the jargon and formal, circuitous wording that gives academic writing precision at the cost of readability. Pretend you are explaining your project or research to an interested friend. Watch out for overly long, multi-clause sentences, heavy reliance on the passive voice, and long strings of adjectives (“innovative, pedagogically-driven, inquiry-based, empowering, culturally inclusive curriculum”).
Find an interesting lead. Look for something personal, surprising or visual to capture readers’ interest and draw them into your story.
The standard journal-type introduction – “In 2015, a four-year longitudinal study, funded by the XYZ Foundation, was undertaken by the University of X’s School of Y to compare formative assessment policy and practice in three different school jurisdictions… “– is not inviting. Consider these alternatives, with examples from recent EdCan articles:
Show it in action: “Fairy Tale month is being celebrated at St. Gregory Catholic School and at its Happy Creek Learning Center, a large castle constructed from cardboard serves as a focal point to inspire and engage the 65 students, aged 4-6, in their education. Dressed up in their armor, three princes discuss how they are going to slay the dragon and save the princess from her impending doom. Nearby, adventurous mountain climbers find safe passage to the top of the mountain…”
Make it personal: “Wyatt sat uncomfortably in his chair, squirming as I looked over his transcript and file. Five different grade schools, two middle schools, not back to back… “