Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Graduate School of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Rudy D. Pauley

Second Advisor

Luke Eric Lassiter

Third Advisor

Bizunesh Wubie


Writing is a powerful learning tool that allows students to connect critical thinking across the curriculum. Good writing skills are necessary for students to succeed in higher education and on the job. Teachers, however, are avoiding teaching writing, in part because it has not been included until recently in high stakes testing, and in part because they may not understand how to teach writing and how to grade it. Central West Virginia Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, conducts an annual Invitational Summer Institute for teachers of grades K-Adult to teach teachers to teach writing across the curriculum. This 20-month qualitative study examined ways in which the 2007 Summer Institute influenced the professional development of 11 teachers who represented grades K-12 in ten schools within two county school districts. The study addressed five questions: participants’ perception of writing project professional development, influences of the professional development program on teacher classroom practice, the extent to which participants perceived the Summer Institute program as fitting parameters of quality as defined by Backus, factors that might be useful to other designers of professional development, and the perceived enthusiasm that participants showed toward writing project professional development. It included emerging themes of technology use in the classroom, influences of school administrators, and teacher growth as peer leaders. The study found that writing project professional development was effective for some but not all participants. It inferred that the program fit parameters of quality, and that certain essentials of design and implementation may be useful for other providers of teacher in-service. It found six elements that appeared to influence the positive feelings reported by participating teachers for this professional development even if they did not transfer desired content to their classrooms. It also demonstrated the appropriateness of a collaborative, qualitative study such as this for researching questions of teacher practice.


Critical thinking


Creative writing - Studying and teaching


Teachers - In-service training