The Dakota Writing Project is a non-profit teachers' organization at the University of South Dakota that focuses on improving the teaching of writing and improving learning at all grade levels and in all subject areas. We are affiliated with the National Writing Project (NWP), which has about 190 sites across the United States. Writing takes many forms in the 21st century, and like the NWP, the Dakota Writing Project "envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world."
These core principles guide the Dakota Writing Project:
- Schools and universities are ideal partners for investing in writing improvement through professional development.
- Writing can and should be taught, not just assigned, at every grade level. Professional development programs should provide opportunities for teachers to work together to understand writing development across grades and across subject areas.
- Writing improvement occurs over time. Teachers also need time to design and implement writing strategies that will help their students.
- Knowledge about the teaching of writing comes from many sources: theory and research, the analysis of practice, and the experience of writing. Effective professional development programs provide frequent and ongoing opportunities for teachers to write and to examine theory, research, and practice together systematically.
- There is no single right approach to teaching writing; however, some practices prove to be more effective than others. A reflective and informed community of practice is in the best position to design and develop comprehensive writing programs tailored to students’ needs.
- Teachers who are effective in their practice can be successful teachers of other teachers as well as partners in educational research, development, and implementation.