About the National Writing Project

What is it All About?

Effective writing is an essential skill to people in nearly all occupations, fields, and areas of life. To be able to communicate thoughts and ideas through writing can give a person of any station in the life the capacity to evince change and reach others. Thus, it is surprising that writing as a skill has a tendency to be overlooked in our traditional curricula. The National Writing Project (NWP) was established to bring the importance of writing to the forefront of our educational efforts in the United States. By improving writing skills, learners of all ages have the opportunity to become better communicators, and thus better learners. In the future, the NWP aspires to see a world where everyone has strong writing capabilities, which makes them engaged in learning and actively involved in the world. .

In order to accomplish this goal, the NWP hopes to utilize the most direct link to the future writers of the world: educators. NWP works hand-in-hand with teachers and academic institutions to offer professional development, conduct research, and incorporate best practices for learning and writing into school curricula. NWP is committed to helping teachers of all grade levels, from kindergarten through college, to improve writing and learning.

NWP serves all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and adopts a diverse, multi-disciplinary approach to learning. There are currently almost 200 locations where NWP has been integrated into curricula. These sites are co-directed by teachers in K-12 schools and faculty in colleges and universities. Eventually, NWP hopes to be able to reach every teacher in the country, and they continue to add new sites every year.

NWP sites across the country share the same set of principles and ideals, also known as a national program model, in order to provide consistent professional development goals for teachers in different areas. Research has shown that the students of teachers following the national program model have demonstrated improved writing performance. This improved performance inevitably trickles down to improve academic performance in a wide range of subjects.

The NWP develops a group of teachers in every site area that become experts I the national program model during invitational summer institutes. These teachers then can advocate the improvement of local curricula in order to put more focus on writing skills.

The core principles of NWP involve utilizing teachers as they key agent of reform in our educational system. Teachers not only have the ability to put best practices into use, but also the access to encourage the widespread adoption of the best learning and teaching methods. NWP also believes that, at every grade level, instructional time should be devoted to improving writing. That instruction should be based on a multi-disciplinary understanding of writing, as well as an understanding of the practical applications of writing. These concepts can be explored by teachers outside of the classroom as well. NWP believes strongly that there is no single method to teaching writing, but that effective teaching depends on the culture and context in which it is occurring. Finally, NWP believes teachers can spread their understanding to other educators and those involved in academics. In this way, teaching methods can spread from classroom to classroom, and the goal of NWP may one day be achieved.

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