Gallo, Jessica and Hermann, Bailey. “Transforming Writing Teachers: Two Professional Development Possibilities”

Gallo, Jessica and Herrmann, Bailey (2014) “Transforming Writing Teachers: Two Professional Development Possibilities,” Teaching/ Writing: The Journal of Writing Teacher Education: Vol. 3: Iss. 2, Article 8.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/wte/vol3/iss2/8

This article focuses on two professional development opportunities, The National Writing Project and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, that provide transformative experiences for teachers. These two programs offer opportunities for meaningful, situated, and complex professional development that focus on the person and the professional.

Keywords:

Writing, Teaching, Professional Development, Active Learners, Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Mindfulness, Reflective Practice, National Writing Project

Citations:

Clarke, David, and Hilary Hollingsworth. “Elaborating a Model of Teacher Professional Growth.” Teaching and Teacher Education 18 (2002):947-967. Print.

Integrative Medicine: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Patient Testimonials. UW Health, 2013. Web. 7 June 2013.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. “An Outpatient Program in Behavioral Medicine for Chronic Pain Patients Based on the Practice of Mindfulness Meditation: Theoretical Considerations and Preliminary Results.” General Hospital Psychiatry 4 (1982): 33-47. Print.

Lave, Jean, and Etienne Wenger. Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Print.

Little, Judith Warren. “Norms of Collegiality and Experimentation: Workplace Conditions of School Success.” American Educational Research Journal 19.3 (1982): 326-340. Print.

Quotations:

“Writing teachers have to constantly make visible the largely invisible process of composing and revising a piece of writing from its first inkling of an idea to its final publication” (124).

“Too few professional development activities focus on the teacher as more than just a purveyor of knowledge to students. Those that do, however, offer teachers some very powerful and transformative experiences that change not only the teacher’s day-to-day practice, but also change the teacher’s perception of herself and her role in the classroom” (125).

“… effective professional development consists of a community of teacher learners, active learning on the part of the participants, ample time for teacher interaction, an acknowledgement that teacher learning is fluid and constantly changing as a result of the professional development, and teacher learning must be linked to student achievement” (125).

“The teacher is not simply a vessel through which effective practices are filtered; rather, professional development that focuses on teachers’ learning and values the processes that teachers use to incorporate new understandings about their practice is a worthwhile endeavor as well. Rather than thinking of teacher learning as being only in service of student outcomes, this position emphasizes the importance of teacher learning for teachers themselves” (129).

Questions:

This article portrays secular mindfulness training as a positive, even necessary, experience for educators. Is this a tough sell given the Buddhist roots of the practice? Also, does this secularization water down mindfulness practice as a component of a spiritual lifeway? Do we risk appropriation? Or is the philosophical nature of Bhuddism forgiving of such selecting and borrowing of principles?

How can this kind of training be shared with students in the writing classroom in a public university?

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