National Writing Project

The Impact of the New York City Writing Project: Teacher and Student Outcomes of a Professional Development Model for Improving the Teaching of Writing

By: Roger Peach, Anne Campos
Date: 2006

Summary: This study, which is part of the NWP's Local Site Research Initiative's Cohort II, investigates the impact of a partnership between the New York City Writing Project (NYCWP) and six high schools in a large urban district where challenges include poverty, low student achievement, inexperienced teachers, and increasing demands for high-stakes testing.

 

Excerpt from Report

Generally, program group teachers were willing to try new strategies to support their students in writing. (Indeed, it would have been surprising were they not, since they approached the teacher-consultants in order to get help to deal with their specific teaching needs.) Two teachers—who said that they essentially had had no strategies for teaching writing prior to participation in the NYCWP—began using strategies such as introducing the steps of the writing process and incorporating more journal-writing and reflection. As mentioned above, teachers in math and science introduced minilessons, which one said gave "students a different view of writing from a technical perspective." Another teacher introduced prewriting techniques such as writing letters to historical characters and analyzing photographs. When asked what was most valuable about participation in NYCWP professional development, one teacher noted,
the nonthreatening way the TC [teacher-consultant] helped me to get students to critique each other's papers. By [the TC's] being in the classroom with me, I gained more confidence in practicing certain things more often.
Finally, participants experimented with new ways to collaborate: at one school, teachers were introduced to—and used—the concept of team teaching. Several teachers commented that they valued the opportunity to share ideas with, and learn from, their colleagues.

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