Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction


Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Austin, Patricia


Professional development in education is often a process focused on teachers' limitations. Teachers are rarely offered choices in professional development, nor are they asked to qualify the attributes of their professional development experiences they find most meaningful. This study situates the National Writing Project as a specific professional development program from which to consider teachers' beliefs and perceptions regarding their professional development experiences. The study begins with a broad view of professional development, then directs attention to the Writing Project as a professional development model. Ten teachers participated in individual and focus group interviews for the study. Interview data were collected and analyzed using a qualitative phenomenological approach to discern the features of the Writing Project that teachers value as a professional development experience. Results from this study include five essential elements of the Writing Project experience as reported by participants. Results show that the Writing Project builds teachers' instructional and pedagogical capacity, sponsors teachers' professional voice, breaks down isolationism, connects teachers to the writer within themselves, and attracts leaders while facilitating leadership in its members. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications researchers and educators may draw from the results.


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