10-second review: Does teachers’ participation in National Writing Projects change their classroom behavior?
Title: “Teacher Transformation in the National Writing Project.” Anne Whitney. Research in the Teaching of English (November 2008), 144-187. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Summary: Hard to find research showing teachers using the practices taught and modeled in the National Writing Projects’ sessions. Suggests that the changes in teachers’ behavior will not necessarily be found in actual classroom practice but in the teachers’ thinking and attitudes that are not clearly measurable.
Quote: “This study helps to clarify that while classroom practice is of course an important indicator of change in teachers, it is not in and of itself a sufficient criterion for deciding whether transformation has taken place or even whether learning has taken place.” p. 179.
Quote: “…to research this instance of professional development and others in a manner consistent with a view of teachers as thinkers and people rather than as the trainable enacters of others’ ideas.” p. 180.
Comment: The issue is how to measure teachers’ changes as a result of inservice. I was once thinking of researching changes in teacher behavior as a result of teachers’ reading of professional literature. The same issue would have applied: How would I measure the effects on teachers’ behavior in the classroom as a result of their reading professional literature?
At first I reacted to the conclusions of the researcher in this NWP research as a way of side-stepping the issue of the effects of inservice. After reflecting on her conclusions, I think the researcher might be suggesting another, valid way of measuring teacher’s changes as result of inservice. I need to think some more about it. RayS.