National Writing Project

The Family Writing Project: Creating Space for Sustaining Teacher Identity

By: Marilyn McKinney, Rosemary Holmes-Gull, Saralyn Lasley
Publication: National Council of Teachers of English
Date: 2008

Summary: The writers, all with the Southern Nevada Writing Project, argue that family writing projects help develop a writing culture, nurture authentic writing and democratic practice, build relationships between students and teachers, counter teacher burnout, and help develop teacher leadership.



In the context of NCLB requirements, many teachers feel they are discouraged from making decisions based on their educational expertise or knowledge of students; rather, they are required to follow predetermined programs, adhere to administrative mandates, and implement simplistic scripts.

In contrast to the current climate of distrust and blame, participants of the family writing projects we have studied were afforded opportunities to mingle discourses and knowledges of home, community, and school in a hybrid "outside of the traditional school day" space—they have in effect created a third space. For teachers, the act of drawing on these experiences has affected their practice and helped to generate a sense of efficacy, inspiring confidence and a renewed commitment to the profession.

Copyright © 2008 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with permission.
McKinney, Marilyn, Saralyn Lasley, and Rosemary Holmes-Gull. 2008. "The Family Writing Project: Creating Space for Sustaining Teacher Identity." English Journal 97 (5): 52–57.

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