Professor presents at English conference

Educators: A notable presentation held at NCTE was “Poet Advocates: Using Poetry to Advocate for Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century.” The four pictured from left to right: Dr. Bonner Slayton, Jocelyn Chadwick, Dr. Danny Wade and Dr. Michael Moore were each presenters.

Andrew Shermoen

Danny Wade, an associate professor of English at Washburn University, attend the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The sponsors, also known as NCTE, welcomed Wade and the professor took part in multiple speaking sessions and took in the sights of Georgia’s unique landscape.

The theme of the convention was “Faces of Advocacy” and teachers from all levels of education gathered to learn how to teach their students more about exploring English with an active mind.

Wade started out by participating and presenting in a public speaking session titled “Poet Advocates: Using Poetry to Advocate for Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century.”

According to Wade, the idea behind the seminar was that participants would leave inspired to use poetry as a vehicle for healing, peace, validation, power and advocacy. He specifically used his time to speak during the session to highlight the poem “For My Son Johnny,” by Anne Porter. The poem focuses on Porter’s son, who has Autism, and his strength instead of lamenting his weaknesses.

Wade also took part in an annual meeting, The Conference on English Education Commission on the Teaching of Poetry.

The meeting discussed the goals for next year and created projects promoting the reading, writing and teaching of poetry.

“We are currently working on a manuscript and presentation proposal that demonstrates how to use poetry in Secondary English Methods courses,” Wade said.

In addition to attending seminars and his annual meeting, Wade also coordinates a writing workshop. Participants brought copies to be proofread by their peers. Afterward, an open mic was held for those wanting to read their writing.

Since the NCTE has a different destination every year, Wade likes to visit as many local landmarks and monuments as possible.

Atlanta is a large city filled with budding culture and was once a major hub for the civil rights movement. As such, Wade visited the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. It consisted of King’s boyhood home and the church he and his father preached at, Ebenezer Baptist.

“While in the sanctuary, I sat on the front pew and observed the pulpit where King preached,” Wade said. “It was so moving to visualize him there preaching as his sermons were played over the speakers.”

Wade also visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and read original documents and examined items imperative to the former president’s term in office. Wade’s favorite Carter quote from the library was plastered on a large wall: “Our commitment to human rights must be absolute; the powerful must not persecute the weak.”

These words perfectly match the theme of the NCTE conference. “Faces of Advocacy” highlighted what the men and women at the conference all have in common. They stand for one single cause: to help foster growth and knowledge through education of English.