Across this publication of teachers reflecting on their practice, many make reference to their Teacher Workshop (TW). For the non-National Writing Project reader, here’s a primer on the TW:
First, we wanted to note that this publication highlights one aspect of professional development that is usually overlooked: inquiry. No model of effective learning that we know of claims that a person learns by importing information; rather, one of the core principles of any successful education is that students must gain knowledge for themselves. We propose that the process of inquiry, of articulating questions and investigating, designing, and testing answers, then reflecting upon the process is the only manner in which teachers will genuinely develop their professional expertise.
To facilitate this process of inquiry, all Greater MadisonWriting Project participants are asked to conduct a Teacher Workshop, in which all participants learn alongside the presenter. In the workshop, the presenter shares their question, their research, their provisional answers and asks participants to engage in exercises and reflections that enable both the presenter and participants to reflect on our teaching.
This model of shared inquiry is reflected in this publication, in which writers explore their teaching beliefs and explore the material presented in both their own and their colleagues’ workshop.
We hope that you can learn alongside these writers, as our small group of Wisconsin teachers learn from each other. We also hope that this collective publication serves as a small step towards articulating some common principles around which we might define our own profession to others.
Jen, Mark (Editors)