This is my fourth year in a row attending both the NWP & NCTE conferences. I look forward to this conference all year because it is here at the intersection of both NWP & NCTE that I feel most at home professional and intellectually.
Attending NCTE I am able to tap into the key content areas that interests me most, which at the moment are digital media, writing, & social equity as they relate to English education and literacy in general. Yet it is through my participation at NWP events, which also address these topics, that I am able to engage in the practices of learning that most confirm the reasons I became teacher 12 years ago and the reasons I am still teaching today. These practices include courageous conversations, creative problem solving, collaborative program building etc.
I firmly believe that it is through my engagement with the writing project, working with teachers from a variety of classroom contexts K-college that I am able to put into action any of the social equity & digital media content that I study and write about for say “NCTE audiences.” The research and writing I do within the NCTE world helps me to think through the ideas, in an intense “writing to learn” process. Yet it is through the collaborative network learning of NWP model, that these ideas are significantly revised and collectively refined in ways that make them sustainable and relevant. Without the work I do with NWP, I feel that much of the work I do for NCTE would only have meaning for a small audience and perhaps never be considered for purposes of action within classrooms or among teachers.
I think specifically of the work I have been doing with NWP related to recruiting and retaining diversity within the writing project. I have been studying many ideas related to diversity and social equity for the past five years, however, it isn’t until you sit down and try to really enact these ideas within real contexts such as a dynamic and living network of teachers, that you are able to see how what these ideas look like when connection with real people and classroom contexts.
Beside strengthening already existing relations with mentors and colleagues, I also met many new people I hope to continue bumping into. First, I met a woman from University of Michigan, Andrea Zellner, who gave a talk on distributed identities. Also, there was a woman from Columbia University, Lori Falchi, who attended my talk. She had such fantastic questions that pushed my understanding of local practices within literacy contexts. Other creative thinkers I want to keep in touch with are Chuck Jurich, from the High Desert Writing Project in New Mexico, and the educator collective making up the NWP Multimodal Assessment Project housed at the equally delicious Digital Is.