National Writing Project

Growing the Boston Writing Project: The Lessons of 20 Years

By: Joe Check
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 4, No. 1
Date: Spring 1999

Summary: Check reflects on lessons he has learned over his 20-year tenure as a writing project director: teaching produces knowledge; everyone needs community; and change nurtures growth.



Everyone needs community. Like other successful writing projects, BWP is not just a course, or an institute, or even a staff development program. It's a long-term professional community in which members find a home. NWP's Elyse Eidman-Aadahl uses the term "third space" to refer to this combined physical, professional, and emotional dimension of writing project communities — not the primary space of home and family, nor the job space of teaching and schools, but a "third space" that combines important elements of both, offering a professional family to anyone who cares to join. I think of our project's "third space" as a Victorian house with many rooms, where many different conversations take place.

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