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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Great Quotes and Thoughts from the General Session at NWP

Great Quotes and thoughts from the General Session of the 2006 National Writing Project Annual Meeting – submitted by Elizabeth McBride

Writing for a Change – reflects what NWP is all about: writing is transformative, and writing to real audiences makes writing more meaningful and powerful – from Jim Gray

Sheridan Blau - “If I tell you my idea, you only have it. It is my job as a teacher to share the experience of the idea by creating a situation in which you can experience it.”

The test of true knowledge is not in its possession, (consumerism of knowledge, rather than making knowledge) but the use of it. Do not become an idolator of knowledge as if it were something to possess and hoard; to accumulate and spill out as if one were its source - this is false knowledge. Do not let your own expertise close you off from new learning. It is consistently found that those persons with greatest competence in their field, are more aware of what there is still to know. Those without such competence and experience or exposure, are more likely to think they know enough. “The most distinctive characteristic of the ignorant is less their lack of knowledge but their refusal to learn.”

The act of writing has been understood to be the most powerful instrument for the literate person to use to institute change. The distinctive features of writing have made it the powerful form of learning that it is.
Writing is, therefore, an instrument for true, rather than surface, recitational, performance-related and confined, false knowledge.

Good writing does not just happen; it requires instruction and those who care about what it is that someone has to say.

In Writing and School Reform – National Commission on Writing (contains Neglected Art hearings), it. says: writing should be at the top of our nation’s school reform agenda. Writing helps shape critical faculties.

Our prompt from the session: What caused you to stay in education for as long as you have? What were some of the things that were motivating and significant to you?

Keep these ideas out in front of you, not only to motivate you; but to inform your vision for education, for your teaching, and for your writing. By making individual efforts toward our common goals, NWP participants can make a collective difference.


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