Teachers’ ‘summer school’ focuse...

Teachers’ ‘summer school’ focuses on writing, literacy, leadership

While most area students take the summer off, their teachers are headed back to the classroom to participate in the Middle Tennessee Writing Project’s Summer Institute and other professional-development offerings.

With funding support from the U.S. Department of Education, more than 100 local teachers will join 3,000 others across the country who are working this summer to expand their knowledge and understanding of the best ways to teach writing.

The MTWP, part of the National Writing Project network, was established in 2005 and is in residence at Middle Tennessee State University to serve the greater middle Tennessee region.

Teachers in kindergarten through 12th grades as well as college attend the intensive two-week MTWP Summer Institute each year. The 2012 session concluded June 22.

The institute’s focus is on teaching writing effectively, using writing to improve student learning and developing professional leadership. Instead of just a tan and some beach photos, participants will return to their schools this fall with increased expertise to share with their colleagues.

“The Summer Institute is particularly transformative for all of us,” explained MTWP Director Dr. Ellen Donovan, a professor of English at MTSU. “We develop an expertise that makes us more intentional as we guide our students.”

She noted that as a result of their teachers’ learning, students will increase and enrich their education in all areas and will have multiple opportunities to engage in real-world communication.

Located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Writing Project sites offer teachers the opportunity to study the latest research on writing education and to share their knowledge, expertise and effective classroom practices. Each site is co-directed by local university faculty and classroom teachers.

For more information about the MTWP, including more summer workshops and the fall conference in September, visit