The Minnesota Writing Project aims to improve K–college literacy in Minnesota. Housed within the Center for Writing at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, MWP is the local site of the National Writing Project, an authorized provider of No Child Left Behind.
Much of what we read in the local education section of the newspaper describes shifting tests scores or school closings. It is infrequent that we are offered a peek into the mind and heart of teachers. Our new Teacher Showcase feature will give our recent ISI participants a chance to speak their mind about the teaching of writing and the need for quality professional development. Return often to read these profiles.
How has the MWP experience impacted your teaching? The impact is so varied and complex that it’s hard to explain. In fact, I doubt I’m even fully aware yet of just how much this experience has shaped my teaching. I can point to this much: I have new resources to use, stronger lessons in mind, a reinvigorated philosophy to guide me, and a renewed commitment to establishing writing groups in my class.
What are your beliefs about writing? In both my own writing life and when working with students, I strongly believe in the importance of trusting the process. In other words, don’t think about what to write; write to find out what you think. From there, trust that deeper meaning and themes will emerge effectively and organically. Writing something important to you will often turn out clever and brilliant, but writing something clever and brilliant to you will rarely turn out important.
What is a book on writing or the teaching of writing that you would recommend (and why)? For general thoughts on writing, I keep returning to Natalie Goldberg. When it comes to the teaching of writing, I have found Kelly Gallagher to be very useful—especially Teaching Adolescent Writers.
Believing that teachers can empower other teachers, members provide an environment in which teachers can learn from one another and then share that learning with others in their classrooms, departments, schools, and districts. MWP is committed to improving the literacy of all students, strengthening university and school collaboration on reading and writing instruction, and increasing the professional power of teachers in meeting state standards and the curricular demands of NCLB.
Identifies exemplary teachers who can teach other teachers
Encourages teachers to write
Assists schools and districts in identifying their literacy needs and supports them in meeting those needs through pertinent staff development
Supports long-term reform and improvement in literacy instruction through classroom-based, action research
Maintains partnerships between schools and the University
Promotes cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity and understanding within MWP
For additional information, see About MWP.
Muriel Thompson, Director
Please join us in our final 2014 Saturday Session Workshop: Teaching for Justice and Equity within the Common Core.
• March 29th, 2014: How do teachers respond successfully to the challenges of incorporating a social justice approach to teaching?
For more information, go to our News & Events page.
Check out Candance Doerr-Stevens' profile on our Center for Writing alumni pages!