National Writing Project

Lieberman-Wood Article on NWP Featured in Educational Leadership

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 7, No. 3
Date: May-June 2002

Summary: Researchers Ann Lieberman and Diane Wood single out NWP as "arguably the most successful teacher network in the United States."


The March 2002 issue of Educational Leadership features an article by Ann Lieberman and Diane Wood titled "The National Writing Project." In the article, Lieberman, a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Wood, an assistant professor in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of Southern Maine, single out NWP as "arguably the most successful teacher network in the United States."

The article springs from the authors' study—conducted between 1997 and 1999—of two NWP sites: one at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the other at Oklahoma State University. From their work, Lieberman and Wood found that two key features underline "the National Writing Project's successful approach to teacher development: a distinctive set of social practices that motivate teachers, make learning accessible, and build an ongoing professional community; and networks that organize and sustain relationships among these communities and produce new and revitalizing forms of support, commitment, and leadership."

Among the practices that the researchers cite are key elements of NWP such as the fact that every colleague is treated as a potentially valuable contributor and that "the ownership of learning is turned over to the learners."

On the subject of networks, the authors say that the NWP networks "offer follow-up that is missing in many professional development programs [and] also provide a variety of ways for teachers to participate in this supportive community."

Lieberman and Wood's research on NWP will be available next year in a volume to be published by Teachers College Press.

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