At first this might seem to be a simple question to answer; however, when you begin to ask teachers of ELA what they think it is, you will be surprised at the variety of answers. Similar to the teaching of reading and writing, everyone has their own stance. These stances emerge from experience, prior learning, and beliefs.
Some of these stances are:
1. The Editor/Technician: Were you already thinking about editing "is" and replacing it with "are"?
2. The Historian: Were you already considering how ELA came about; wondering where you would find such a history?
3. The Genreman/Genrewoman: Were you thinking about how many types of "arts" there are and wondering how many of each could be taught in a school year?
4. The Designer: Were you thinking about how you would start the year off in an engaging way, then build toward an exciting end?
5. The Book Clubber: Were you thinking about what is the most popular book for adolescents?
6: The Diagnostician: Were you wondering about the individuals in your class and at what competency level they each could read or write?
Ask yourself the question, "What is English Language Arts?" Next, consider how your own stance is unique but not necessarily ubiquitous.