National Writing Project

Vignette Study

The Vignette Study builds our understanding of teacher-leaders' work and focuses on the critical questions of how and why teachers take on leadership roles as well as how they learn leadership skills and dispositions.

The study uses a unique methodology—engaging teacher-consultants in writing vignettes that illustrate or examine their own experiences in a leadership role—to uncover the tacit dimensions of teacher leadership and find how teachers become skilled and knowledgeable leaders.

Thirty-one teacher-consultants from across the United States participated in a six-month vignette writing, revision, and reflection process between February and July 2006. Their vignettes illustrate teacher-consultants' leadership within several arenas of the education system:

  • leading change inside their own schools
  • designing and facilitating professional development opportunities outside of their own schools
  • moving into formal leadership positions in their schools, districts, states, or writing project sites.


Building the Capacity of Writing Project Site Leadership

May 2011
These stories of teacher leadership from NWP's Vignette Study provide examples of structures and processes that sites can examine as they seek to expand leadership and create their own opportunities for teachers to lead.

Teachers, Writers, Leaders

September 2007
Using data from NWP's Teacher Leadership Vignette Study, Linda Friedrich and Ann Lieberman describe—in this September 2007 article from Educational Leadership—how teachers take on leadership roles and how building community is crucial to their success.

Transforming Writing: Teacher-Consultants Lead Change in Their Schools

September 2007
Of the thirty-one teacher-consultants who participated in NWP's Vignette Study by writing narratives about their leadership work, ten described facilitating change in their own schools as they worked alongside their colleagues.

Changing Teaching from Within: Teachers as Leaders

July 2007
Why do teachers become leaders in their schools and communities, and how do they move into positions of leadership? The stories in this sampling from NWP's Vignette Study offer both inspiration and successful strategies.


For more information about the vignette study, please contact

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