The National Writing Project’s New Teacher Initiative: A Study of Outcomes, Designs, and Core Values
In our view the major outcomes of the New Teacher Initiative are the range of benefits accrued by new teachers as the result of their participation in NTI programs. The outcomes or benefits are, in turn, the product of a set of three cascading dimensions of capacity that both pre-existed and shaped the NTI, but also expanded and evolved as a result of the NTI efforts. In other words, these capacities serve as the foundation that underlies the work that produces the outcomes.
- First, we see that the benefits to new teachers are the direct results of common activities, strategies and practices that emerged at the NTI sites as the initiative progressed. This first layer of foundational capacity is that of effective practices used in appropriate ways at appropriate times.
- In turn, those practices are derived from and represent key designs and design principles we found appearing throughout the professional offerings “invented” by the NTIs. Thus the second layer in the foundation is the defining presence of design principles that help shape the ways in which actual practices are created and implemented.
- Finally, continuing on down the causal chain, the NTI designs and their key features derive from a bed rock of shared values and beliefs that are indigenous to the National Writing Project. At the same time the NWP has honed over many years a well-developed infrastructure to support sites and individuals in the realization of those values. The third layer in the foundation then is a kind of cultural capacity – the underlying culture, consisting of core values and supporting infrastructure for enacting the NWP values.