Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning: Conferences

  • 2019 AEPL Conference

    “Every One Has a Voice: Listening, Empowerment, Compassionate Confrontation, and Healing”

    The 25th annual summer conference of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning
    of the National Council of Teachers of English will be held June 20–23, 2019, at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, Colorado.

    Conference Flyer (PDF)

    Online Conference Registration

    Conference Registration Form (for mail-in registration): Word / PDF

    Conference Program

    If we really want to change things… it’s going to start at the grassroots level, and with our [youth].
    —Barack Obama, 1995

    Democracy will come into its own [--}for democracy is a name for a life of free and enriching communion[--] when free social inquiry is indissolubly wedded to the art of full and moving communication.
    —John Dewey, 1927

    Perhaps the times we are now living through will at some point come to be known as the Age of Donald Trump and #MeToo! With the former comfortably in the past, and the latter the permanent democratic norm. Historically exemplified by the plethora of voices—prominent among them students and teachers—now speaking out, in these very times, for the healing of the plethora of abuses brought about by our longstanding submission to unjust, dehumanizing, and unnatural hierarchies of many kinds. Through whose voices the motto “We are the one ones we’ve been waiting for” will have become not just a one-time inducement to vote, but an everlasting call for all to live in truth. 

    This is the vision inspiring the 25th annual Summer Conference of the NCTE Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning—a vision that will be greatly, and directly, amplified by the presence there with us of the voices of you and your students!


    (We are also seeking funding to bring students and teachers from Parkland, Florida)

    Carol Gilligan, of Harvard and NYU, has been a powerful public voice for the power of democratic voice since the 1980s, with the publication of her landmark In a Different Voice. And it was her comment that “a democracy is not just a place where everyone has a vote, but where everyone has a voice”—at our 2003 conference “Building a Culture of Listening in Our Institutions of Learning”—that inspired this year’s theme. Her brand new book (with David A.J. Richards, a prospective conference speaker once we have sufficient enrollment/donations) Darkness Now Visible: Patriarchy’s Resurgence and Feminist Resistance is of breathtaking timeliness and importance. Its message has been summed up by Gloria Steinem: “It is the sleight-of-hand of every unjust system to become the rule, and to make everyone else the exception. [This book] end[s] the idea that patriarchy represents everybody, and show[s] that feminism turns patriarchy into democracy. [It is] a prescription for tearing down Trumpian walls…[by] seeing each other as unique and equal.”

    Hepzibah Roskelly and Kate Ronald, of UNC Greensboro and Miami University of Ohio, are perhaps the most prominent feminist voices in NCTE, our sponsoring organization.

    Vajra Watson, director of Research and Policy for Equity at UC–Davis, has fostered and empowered the vibrant voices of 5,000 youth through the Sacramento Area Youth Speak (SAYS) program. She has been a member of the AEPL board since 2016.

    Questions and Topic Areas for Proposals

    (though, let your own voice be your main guide)

    What are the ideas and practices in your classroom that, in the words of Mary Rose O’Reilley “listen [people] into existence”? That help them know that their voices and stories are meaningful and resonantly empowering to others, and need to be heard in both intimate and public spaces?

    How have they learned to use those voices to speak personally storied truth to power in both small and large ways? And how have new possibilities for healing and transformative change in our collective stories, writ large or small, been brought about through their—and your—speaking out? (We use the word “possibilities” here because we know that many of the stories you will share will likely involve the witnessing of the many tragedies and martyrdoms that are so often required to impel us to compassionate change.)

    What are the various ways that prevailing educational practices make the hidden claim “I am your voice” that has been blatantly asserted by our current president? And how can we broadly institute educational practices that will educe the great chorus of voices that constitutes authentic democracy?

    Proposal Topic Suggestions

    • Making marginalized lives and voices matter
    • Making humanity and the humanities matter
    • Making nature and biodiversity matter
    • Feminisms and new understandings of manhood
    • Diverse community building
    • Empathy and compassion, including “speaking truth to power with love” (Cornel West), and for the concealed inner pain of oppressor
    • Speaking and public speechmaking through embodied voice
    • Public discourse in the writing classroom and elsewhere
    • Truth and reconciliation: Confession and forgiveness
    • Practices of nonviolence
    • Understandings of the psychology of violence and its prevention
    • Courage
    • Embodiment
    • Mindfulness
    • The Arts
    • Rhetorical practices
    • Reading practices
    • Specific readings: works of literature and theory
    • Important thinkers and role models
    • Activism—online and in person
    • Personally encountering meaningful history
    • Listening
    • Healing 

    To Propose

    Send an abstract of up to 250 words for a 75-minute interactive workshop (preferred format), making sure to include descriptions of the activities in which you will involve participants; or a 20–30 minute talk or short teaching demo, to by December 1 for early consideration, April 15 for regular consideration. Proposals submitted after January 15 will be considered if room remains on the program.


    $195 until February 1, 2019; $270 February 2–May 1, 2019; $350 after May 1; discounts for students, adjuncts, and retirees and for multiple attendees from the same organization. Registration available mid-September at AEPL. Refund policy and lodging and membership info on website mid-September.

    Pre-Conference Workshops

    Two Workshops: “Alexander Technique” and “Linklater Voice,” both given by Ruth Rootberg

    These pre-conference workshops will take place before the conference officially kicks off on June 20. The first workshop, to be given from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. that day, will focus on the Alexander Technique, a form of attention training focused on movement and posture. The second workshop, to be held from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. that day, will introduce the Linklater technique for developing vocal power through bodily awareness of voice. These workshops carry an additional fee of $50 each ($35 for those eligible for discounts) and appear as separate items on the registration form. (An additional pre-conference workshop registration discount will be granted to those who register for both workshops.)

    Workshop Descriptions

    Do you have things you want to say but freeze up when it’s your turn to speak? Do you contribute good ideas but somehow aren’t heard or taken seriously? Would you like to learn to articulate thoughtfully and expressively with optimal vocal and physical presence? These two workshops in the Alexander Technique and Linklater Voice will help you on your path.

    In the morning, Ruth Rootberg will demonstrate how the Alexander Technique can offer you ways to bring poise into your everyday activities and public speaking. Participants will work on eliminating deep-seated habitual tensions while empowering vocal and personal presence.

    In the afternoon Ruth will introduce the Linklater vocal progression, used by professional actors worldwide to warm up, center, and build their voices to attain optimal vocal expression with the least amount of tension. Participants will learn how to connect expressive thoughts to breath and voice so that your message can be heard and felt. 

    Workshop Leader

    The leader of both pre-conference workshops is Ruth Rootberg, MEd, MM, MA, who trained with Kristin Linklater and was associate professor in voice at the Yale School of Drama from 1995 to 2000. Her other faculty positions include Northern Illinois University, the Theatre School of DePaul, and Mt. Holyoke College. She is a certified Laban Movement analyst (2000) and an AmSAT-certified Alexander Technique teacher (2003). Ruth has presented integrated voice and movement workshops at the Voice Foundation, Alexander Technique conferences, the Association for Theater in Higher Education, SAPVAME (South Africa), and has given workshops at music, theater, and dance programs around the country. Ruth resides in Amherst, Massachusetts.

    Conference Docs

    Conference Flyer (PDF)

    Online Conference Registration

    Conference Registration Form (for mail in registration): Word / PDF

    Conference Program

    Supplemental Conference Docs

    A Message to Members from Conference Organizer Bruce Novak (PDF)

    Cancellation Policy

    Cancellations until April 15 are fully refundable, minus a $50 fee. After that date, refunds will be at the discretion of AEPL and will require a petition. Substituting registration for a future AEPL conference, with no fee deducted, is allowed at any time.