The West Tennessee Writing Project is a program of professional development for K-12 teachers that seeks to improve writing and writing instruction in our schools. It is one of 197 sites of the National Writing Project, and one of two such sites in Tennessee.
WTWP is housed in the Department of English in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
WTWP’s guiding principles:
•Student writing will improve as writing instruction improves.
•Writing teachers should be writers themselves.
•The best teacher of a teacher is another teacher.
Teachers of WTWP–Writing Teachers/Writing People–believe everyone can write. They create classrooms as safe places for students to read, write, and learn. They respect standards as inherent in pedagogy, value assessment in many forms, and honor students, colleagues, parents, and administrators as partners in school success.
The heart of WTWP is its annual invitational summer institute for K-12 teachers held at UT Martin. Teachers who participate in a summer invitational institute become Teacher Consultants of WTWP. Their students write often during school and in a wide variety of genres. Students become better readers of their own writing, able to think more critically about what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to. With more opportunities to write and to write in a variety of ways, students become more fluent readers and writers in school and for their own personal growth.
In addition to the summer institute, WTWP offers an annual fall workshop on the UT Martin campus, open to all teachers. Information is mailed each spring to supervisors, principals, and teachers. Information and registration is available on the website. WTWP also works with principals and supervisors to design professional development programs focused on reading, writing, and learning to meet teachers’ needs.
WTWP publishes a newsletter, Field Notes, on the web and mailed to teachers, principals, and supervisors. WTWP provides its Teacher Consultants additional ways to stay connected, including through its annual writing retreat at Paris Landing State Park.
WTWP became a site of the National Writing Project in 1993. It is supported by grants from the National Writing Project with matching funds from the University of Tennessee at Martin and additional support for particular programs from area schools and systems.