Editorial Guidelines – Education Canada Magazine

Education Canada magazine is published four times a year by the EdCan Network (formerly 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 encourage 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.

2019–2020 themes

ISSUE 1 (MARCH 2019): GRADING AND ASSESSMENT

This issue will offer a fresh outlook on student assessment, going beyond already well-known terrain to take a critical look at our current learning assessment process, in Canada and internationally. Why do even recently-graduated teachers tend to assess the way they were assessed as students? What is the value of collecting province-wide, nation-wide and even international data, and how can it be used to improve student learning? What about grading—what do grades really measure, what is their purpose, and how accurate are they? Is it fair to incorporate the student’s behaviour in an evaluation of learning? What impact does an emphasis on grades and summative evaluations have on both students’ and teachers’ attitudes, and on actual learning? And on the other hand, what it is the effect of levelling from the bottom or “no fail” policies? Should student self-assessment play a role in the mix?

Deadline for queries: Friday, September 7, 2018

ISSUE 2 (MAY 2019): GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN OUR SCHOOLS

How should we be supporting queer and trans students? All schools and school districts are dealing with this issue, both at a policy level and in individual classrooms. How do we encourage a school culture that respects the spectrum of sexuality and gender? How do we respond to community backlash when it occurs? The role of sex education and the renewed controversy over sex ed in some provinces can be explored, looking beyond the rhetoric to focus on what the research says, as well as specific programs to address homophobia, misogyny, sexism and consent. What does the research tell us about sex education, gender-related bullying, and LGBTQ students, and how can that translate into good practice? What are the barriers to overcome?

Deadline for queries: Thursday, November 15, 2018

ISSUE 3 (SEPTEMBER 2019): CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING

Are teachers prepared and confident to welcome students from a range of cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds? The growing diversity of Canadian classrooms demands that educators develop the inclusive and intercultural competencies that will allow them to support the success of diverse students, both academically and socially. What are best practices around diversity in the classroom, and what resources/support do teachers need in order to develop the knowledge and skills to implement them? One example would be the approach developed by Dr. Sharroky Hollie that embraces and places value on students’ culture and language, allowing students to use the voice that is linked to their identity. In a world becoming increasingly intolerant to cultural diversity, it is important for Education Canada to point the way towards the most appropriate, engaging and responsive teaching practices in today’s diverse classrooms.

Deadline for queries: Monday, February 25, 2019

ISSUE 4 (DECEMBER 2019): GUIDANCE FOR INNOVATING, DESPITE THE SYSTEM

After ten years of recognizing emergent innovators in education research and practice through our Ken Spencer and Pat Clifford Awards, it’s time for our past winners to reflect on how they’ve influenced change in our public education systems. Despite all of the like-minded support and sharing of best practices and learning resources through social media and professional learning communities, why do so many innovators still feel isolated and unsupported within their own schools? What evidence-based ideas that have challenged our collective assumptions on effective teaching and learning have stood the test of time and which ones have floundered? What conditions truly nurture innovation, and what stunts it (and the scaling up of successful projects)? Winners’ reflections will serve to contextualize the systemic supports and impediments to innovations in teaching and learning.

Deadline for queries: Monday, May 13, 2019

ISSUE 1 (MARCH 2020): COLLABORATIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING

This issue would offer a  two-pronged focus on addressing the potential and challenges of both collaborative learning and “team teaching” among teachers, and of collaborative learning for students. What are the benefits of collaborative work and learning? If we’re agreed that collaboration is an important skill to learn, how can we design experiences that really harness students’ enthusiasm and teamwork and overcomes the classic pitfalls of “the group project?” Can we directly teach collaboration skills? How do we fairly assess individuals on their group’s work? And then for teachers, what have we learned about collaborative teaching that will help these teams work effectively? How can we build collaborative learning into teachers’ busy days, and why should we?

Deadline for queries: Thursday, August 15, 2019

Departments

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 words) 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.

TechSavvy

A one page (700 words) 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.

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.

2. PITCHING AN ARTICLE

As of 2017, Education Canada was 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.

Contact Info

Send proposals for English articles to:

Holly Bennett, Editor
Education Canada
60 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 703
Toronto, ON M4T 1N5
Tel : (705) 745-1419
editor@edcan.ca

Send proposals for French articles to:

Jean-Claude Bergeron, rédacteur en chef francophone
Éducation Canada
60 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 703
Toronto, ON M4T 1N5
Tél. : 416 591-6300
Fax: 416 591-5345
redaction@edcan.ca

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 four 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.

Online Exclusives

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 prefer to run an article we don’t have room for as an online exclusive, as a more timely alternative to holding it back and waiting, perhaps through several publishing cycles, for an opportunity to publish it in a future issue.

Online exclusives 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.

Payment

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.

Copyright

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 https://www.edcan.ca/magazine/. Users may not alter, transform, or build upon content, nor may they use content for commercial purposes without the author’s permission.

As an 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 armour, 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…”
  • Offer an analogy: “Suppose that you go to your doctor to learn the results of your annual physical examination and blood tests. She warns you that your blood pressure is high and so is your cholesterol, and … that unless you make some serious lifestyle changes, you are at risk of a heart attack. You take her advice seriously and at your follow-up visit some time later, all of your risk indicators are back to a healthy level.

    Contrast this scenario with the typical response to wide-scale national and international assessments like the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)…”

  • Ask a question: “What are the transformative possibilities of schooling and education today?”
  • Bring it down to earth and invite in different perspectives. Using real-life stories, examples, quotes from participants and first-person experiences can both broaden the perspective and help turn theoretical advice into something more concrete that the reader can envision and potentially use. Gathering and weaving in personal quotes, whether from students, teachers or expert commentators, pays off in a more engaging article that connects emotionally as well as intellectually with readers. Note that just saying, “We had some concerns from parents but with good communication we allayed their fears,” is not as compelling as asking a parent to actually share their initial fears and what changed their mind, and adding their experience in a quote to give a solid, specific example to your general comment.
  • Breakup text. Use subheads to help your readers see the structure of your article and invite them into the next section. Consider whether some of the information in your article could be packaged into a sidebar box or put into a graphic. Boxes with lists of take-home points, steps to get started, or resources are welcome.
Sample articles

The previous Education Canada articles linked to below are not perfect—but they all demonstrate important elements of the style and approach we are looking for. We encourage you to read through at least a few to see how the tips we’ve offered can be applied to a range of education articles.

  • The Peaceful Village
    Strong description and quotes from participants make it easy for readers to envision the program and understand its impact on participants, not just “what was done.”
  • No More Math Wars
    A more formal, evidence-based article that nevertheless is readable, practical, and connected to a very current debate.
  • Educational Outcomes and Indicators
    The authors deal with the somewhat dry topic of data in a readable and useful way.
  • The Happy Creek Learning Centre
    Strong use of quotes brings in the experience/response of various stakeholders and helps readers envision how this model of early learning works.
  • Truth and Reconciliation in YOUR Classroom
    A sensitive and practical article that directly supports teachers and school leaders to begin to integrate Indigenous teachings in their practice.

Finally—be courageous

Changing things for the better takes courage, in the education sector as everywhere else. We know that the most effective educators and change agents are often those who are willing to take a risk and try something, to speak up about problems, to go against the grain and advocate for innovation. We want Education Canada (and the EdCan Network) to be a place where these courageous educators can find a home.

Part of that courage is the willingness to not only learn from failure, but to share that learning. As educators, we all know that mistakes are valuable learning opportunities. In education, as in other sectors, there’s a tendency to be very cautious about what can “go public.” It is understandable that everyone wants to present their best face to the world. But please consider:

When you only share your successes, you deprive your readers from learning from your failures. Whether you are discussing a provincial curriculum change, a board initiative to raise literacy rates, a school partnership program with community business, or a classroom innovation, please don’t gloss over the bumps in the road and mistakes made along the way. By all means celebrate and share what you did right, but also let us know what didn’t work out so well, what you would do differently next time, and why.

Visual and Video Elements

If you have access to photos relevant to your article (and either permission to publish or can guide us through the proper channels), we would love to see them. Good quality (sharp focus, high resolution) “real life” photos are always of interest. We have photo guidelines available.

Similarly, if there is video footage that would be interesting and relevant to share on our website, or you think your subject lends itself well to a supplementary video, let us know. (We have limited resources for video, so we won’t always be able to follow through.)

Citations

In keeping with accepted magazine-style, we would prefer you not use references (endnotes).

It is generally acceptable in magazines to acknowledge sources briefly within the narrative, for example, “a large body of research shows” (if it’s a large body and well accepted in your field, you don’t have to provide a bunch of sources to prove it);  “a recent study by Brown found”; or in David Price’s book Open,  he writes: “QUOTE HERE.”

Please use endnotes only when absolutely essential to give credit to material taken directly from other sources that for some reason is too unwieldy to acknowledge informally in the body. You may also use a numbered footnote for a brief explanatory note if needed. Authors bear full responsibility for the accuracy of quotations and citations. Please restrict your endnotes to a maximum of 6 for a department, 10 for a feature.

Education Canada follows the University of Chicago Manual of Style for citations (superscripted numbers in the text and endnotes at the end of the document). The Chicago style is more “reader-friendly” as it does not interrupt the flow of the text.

When working in Word, use the “insert footnote” function, choose “endnote—end of document” and set the numbering to 1,2,3 etc. PLEASE NOTE: the numbers are sequential and there is only one at a time. If there is a repeated source, don’t try to re-use the original number; repeat the information in the endnote.

The style when a book is being cited is as follows:

  1. Harvey Minow and Craig L. LaMay, Inside the Presidential Debates: Their improbable past and promising future (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 24–25.

Style for a journal or periodical:

  1. Walter Blair, “Americanized Comic Braggarts,” Critical Inquiry 4, No. 2 (1977): 331–332.

Do not add a list of references.

A note on URLs in endnotes

Many reference sources are now available online and so you may wish to provide the URL where your source can be found. The difficulty with a print publication is that there is no “clicking on the link”; interested readers must key in the URL manually and some are so long and complex it is difficult to do so accurately. When that is the case, please consider whether the full URL is actually necessary and useful. If the article is easily found via Google, then adding the URL may not be helpful. Alternatively, consider using a link shortener such as Bitly or Owl.ly.