National Writing Project

California English: Professional Development That Matters

Date: May 18, 2012

Summary: The winter 2012 issue of California English invites teacher-leaders to reflect on their professional development practices and attend CATE2012, a conference designed to let participants share their experiences, learn from each other, and explore promising teaching practices.


Professional Development as Professional Learning
By Tim Dewar

Tim Dewar, director of the South Coast Writing Project, paints a picture of the two ways professional development can go: one where teachers work together to come to solutions, and one where teachers must go along with what others deem appropriate. The latter, he believes, goes against the very nature of learning, and argues for why and how teachers and educational leaders should move away from this mentality.

Teachers Teaching Other Teachers
By Lovelyn Marquez-Prueher

As a new teacher struggling to find a way to teach students learning English, Lovelyn Marquez-Prueher found the answer in the Los Angeles Writing Project. There, she learned from other teachers, from tips and techniques to actual classroom practices, and used their guidance to improve her own teaching and engage her students.

Professional Development My Way
By Melinda Rench

For Melinda Rench, a teacher-leader with the Illinois Writing Project, her biggest source of professional development comes from, surprisingly, social media. Through Twitter and blogs, teachers who would normally be separated by immense distances can still communicate with and respond to one another, inspiring a continual avenue of learning.

Leading by Example
By Janet Lenards

After many years, teacher-leader Janet Lenards found herself sharing in the common new teacher concern of how to instruct and manage a classroom. Help came in the form of the Great Valley Writing Project, which taught her effective practices, showed her what it was like to be a student, and gave her enthusiasm for teaching, all lessons that continue to this day.

On-Site Professional Development: The National Writing Project Model
By Kimberly Fruscella

For San Diego Writing Project teacher-leader Kimberly Fruscella, professional development meetings at schools should be times of collaboration, informative discussion, and brainstorming creative solutions, but more often than not they fall short of these achievable aims. The fault lies not in the teachers but in the structure, and Fruscella looks to the National Writing Project as a model of how good, sustainable professional development can be done.

Who's Training Whom? What a Writing Project Director Has Learned from Classroom Teachers
By Carol Booth Olson

After spending only a day participating in the UCLA Writing Project's Summer Institute, Carol Booth Olson was determined to bring the experience to her own school and went on to help found the UC Irvine Writing Project. Over the course of her extensive career as its director, she has learned a great deal and shares some of the wisdom she's acquired for anyone else eager to learn.

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