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.

Most often, each issue has a theme section. Typically, three feature articles (plus one or two web-exclusives) 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.

2021 themes

(see www.edcan.ca/magazine for a description of each theme)

ISSUE 1 (MARCH 2021): EDUCATING WITH THE U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

On a global scale, we’re faced with complex societal and environmental challenges such as climate change, poverty, inequality and environmental degradation that we must address in order to achieve a more sustainable future for all. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lay out 17 action areas aimed at sustaining life (both human and non-human), ending poverty, and achieving social justice. These are the building blocks of global well-being.

For educators, the SDGs have enormous educational importance and potential. They offer cross-curricular relevancy and invaluable learning opportunities for students to discover their crucial role in solving local, regional, and global problems, starting in their own community. Simultaneously, education ministries, school districts and school communities will discover that engaging with the SDGs can support students in the important goal of acquiring the six pan-Canadian Global Competencies identified by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), to equip them to thrive in and shape their world.

In this issue, we explore how educators can engage students to become active global citizens and authentically address global issues in empowering and hopeful ways.

ISSUE 2 (MAY 2021): Back to “Normal?”

As we look ahead to students’ probable return to bricks and mortar schooling in the fall, we have a chance to think about what school should be and how we can better meet all students’ needs – a welcome change from the past year’s reactive scramble to cope with pandemic conditions! Can we – and should we – simply go back to how it was? Or can we use what we learned during the pandemic to re-imagine and re-tool school?

The pandemic revealed longstanding inequities in the system and forced educators at every level to do things differently. We saw that we can change, and quickly, when we need to. We also saw how resistant to change many aspects of schooling are, how strong the pull of the status quo. How will we meet the challenges and opportunities of a changing world?

In this issue, we invite authors (and readers) to:

  •   reflect on the lessons and ongoing challenges of the pandemic
  •   showcase examples of creativity, innovation and adaptation (COVID hacks) that are worth keeping and building on, and
  •   envision a path forward to an education system that will equip students – all students – to thrive and to meet the challenges of the future

In short, where have we landed? Where should we be headed? What is our “prime directive”? And what do we need to do to move forward?

Departments

In addition to feature articles, the magazine includes a number of regular departments that range from 700 to 1,500 words. Promising Practices and Voice of Experience run every issue; the others appear less regularly.

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.

Well at Work

Part of our focus on why and how to support the well-being of our school staff at all levels and create a healthy school culture for students and staff alike.
700 – 1800 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 — an educational “hot topic.” This department most often runs at one page – 700 words.

TechSavvy

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.

 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 1-2,000 word article. A writing sample is 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
Tel : 705-745-1419
editor@edcan.ca

Send proposals for French articles to:

Gilberte Godin, rédactrice
Éducation Canada
Téléphone domicile : 1-506-430-0985
Téléphone cellulaire : 1-506-874-8977
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.

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.

We do assign some articles 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, since there we have limited space available in a print issue, we use online exclusives to offer more articles to our readers and expand the scope of the 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.

Citations

In keeping with accepted magazine style (and the space limitations of print), we would prefer you avoid or restrict citations if possible.

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 2013 book Open,  he writes: “QUOTE HERE.”  Please use citations only when truly essential to give credit to material taken directly from other sources that for some reason is too unwieldy to acknowledge informally in the body.

As of the winter 2020/21 issue, Education Canada follows APA Style for citations, with the following exception:

  • If the cited work has more than 4 authors, do not list them all. List the first 2, followed by “et al.”

APA will be familiar to most authors. If you are unsure of how to properly cite your sources, contact your editor for assistance.

Please also restrict the number of references given “at one go.” We don’t want to see a string of five different authors in brackets within the text. Be selective and choose the one or two most relevant. 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 citations to a maximum of 5 for a department, 10 for a feature.

A note on URLs in references

Many reference sources are now available online and so you may wish to provide the URL where your source can be found. While our online version may contain live links, in 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.

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.)

Payment

Except under very exceptional circumstances, the EdCan Network does not pay for articles. In addition to their author copies, published authors will receive a complimentary one-year 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 www.edcan.ca. 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… “
  • 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 Programme 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.

Break up 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 Center

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.