A Brief History of the National Writing Project
In 1974 a high-school teacher, frustrated in his attempts to help his students learn, developed an informational grassroots community of teachers that met to discuss the challenges of teaching. This group chose to work proactively, writing on their professional goals and deepening their facility and passion for writing and reading in all disciplines that their students often lacked. The effect was transformational. This community grew into the National Writing Project, founded on the idea that teachers who write are the best writing teachers. As co-learners, teachers better understand the rhythms and processes of writing to learn. The fruits of workshop-based professional development are found in classrooms with students who are more engaged, capable, and reflective.
Today, there are Writing Project sites in every state. Each is led from a local college or university and linked with teachers in regional K-12 schools in all disciplines.
The heart of the Writing Project is the Summer Institute. Over an intensive four weeks in July, K-12 in all disciplines teachers write, read, share teaching, and learn together. Participants complete a rigorous and competitive application process for each of the fifteen seats available and earn six SUNY Cortland graduate credits. They work in three major areas during the Summer Institute: leadership, in which teachers develop and lead writing-to-learn workshops: personal writing in which teachers create a portfolio of themselves as writers; and research, in which teachers construct and reflect on a deep reading project addressing each individual’s burning question about teaching. Each of these prepares participants to become Teacher Consultants who then conduct professional development with their peers.
Teachers teaching teachers has proven itself the most effective and appropriate way to support the professional development of teachers across disciplines and grade levels. We invite you to support excellence in teaching and learning across our region.