History

History

IWT is a program of Bard College, an institution that has long been at the vanguard of secondary education, establishing early college programs for intellectually curious high school students at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Massachusetts and at Bard High School Early Colleges in Manhattan, Queens, and Newark.

History

IWT Timeline

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1981

Workshop in Language & Thinking (L&T) is established with Peter Elbow as director and a faculty of 20 drawn from colleges across the country, including Bard.  Faculty included Elaine Avidon, Joan Bolker, Paul Connolly, Steve Conrad, Alan Devenish, Ginger Grab, Lynn Hammond, Anne Herrington, Virginia Nees-Hatlen, Marcia Silver, Ellen Solomon, Teresa Vilardi, and Bob Whitney.

1982

IWT established with Paul Connolly, director; first Workshop in Teaching Writing and Thinking for secondary and college teachers

1983

January conference, “Teaching Writing and Thinking: New Strategies in a Time of Crisis”

First weekend and weeklong workshops offered

1986

First summer Writing and Thinking Workshops for high school students offered at Simon’s Rock College

Writing to Teach Critical Inquiry, a weeklong workshop, marks the beginning of collaboration between Bard and Lewis & Clark College, under the aegis of the Northwest Writing Institute

New Methods in College Writing Programs: Theories in Practice, eds. Paul Connolly and Teresa Vilardi, published by the MLA

New weekend workshops in Writing to Teach Math and Science

1988

IWT receives a three-year grant from the John Ben Snow Foundation to support on-site workshops in central New York State

Bard South: Teaching Writing at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, eds. Daniel Lanoue and Vivian Wilson, published by Xavier University

1989

With the Northwest Writing Institute, IWT establishes a two-week residential Workshop in Writing and Thinking for high school students from across the country on Lewis & Clark’s campus

The Role of Writing in Learning Mathematics and Science,
eds. Paul Connolly and Teresa Vilardi, published by Teachers College Press, Columbia University

November conference, “Narrative Thinking: Fact or Fiction?” with Mark Lytle, Jim Davidson, Nancy Willard, and Laura Simms

1991

Conference on “Ten Years of Writing and Thinking” featuring Peter Elbow as keynote and teachers from diverse schools talking about how they have applied IWT writing practices in their classrooms

IWT awarded a $250,000 grant from IBM to establish a networked classroom for the professional development of teachers in the pedagogy of an electronic classroom

1992

IWT establishes the Writing and Thinking Network to coordinate Writing and Thinking Workshops for High School Students at Simon’s Rock, Lewis & Clark, Lake Forest, Kenyon College, and Clemson University

1998

Ray Peterson becomes Director of IWT, following the death of Paul Connolly; Joan Retallack becomes co-director of L&T

2000

Conference on Poetry and Pedagogy

2001

Ray Peterson becomes Principal of Bard High School Early College; Joan Retallack becomes Director of the Language & Thinking Program; Teresa Vilardi, Director of IWT

2002–2005

Project on Writing to Read Science, funded by a grant from the Ira DeCamp Foundation

2003

IWT awarded an NEH grant to support a Faculty Humanities Seminar on Human Rights: History, Ideas, Politics, Case Studies for secondary teachers in Dutchess County

2005

Second NEH grant for a faculty humanities seminar on Reading Narratives in Four Religious Traditions for teachers at Poughkeepsie Day School, Red Hook High School, and Chatham Middle School.

2007

Twenty-fifth anniversary of IWT

2009

Publication of Writing Based Teaching: Essential Practices and Enduring Questions, Teresa Vilardi and Mary Chang, editors (SUNY Press)

2009

The first IWT Curriculum Conversation takes place, discussing The Great Gatsby

2012

IWT celebrates its thirtieth anniversary. Peg Peoples becomes IWT Director, with Teresa Vilardi continuing on as IWT/MAT Senior Consultant and Celia Bland coming on board as IWT's International Coordinator.

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quotation markIf writing is thinking and discovery and selection and order and meaning, it is also awe and reverence and mystery and magic. quotation mark

—Toni Morrison

History
IWT is a program of Bard College, an institution that has long been at the vanguard of secondary education, establishing early college programs for intellectually curious high school students at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Massachusetts and at Bard High School Early Colleges in Manhattan, Queens, and Newark.

Our History

The establishment of IWT in 1982 was part of Bard College President Leon Botstein’s response to what he saw to be a lack of substance and depth in students’ writing. Like the Workshop in Language and Thinking, the mandatory, three-week session for all incoming first-year Bard students—what the New York Times called a “boot camp for writers”—, IWT grew out President Botstein’s vision of the need to address a growing, widespread inability on the part of students to express their sophisticated ideas in writing. The mission of L&T is to help students think more deeply and to read challenging texts more closely through writing. IWT continues to collaborate with the L&T program, whose practices are often reflected in workshops.

Since IWT’s founding, an expert faculty representing the fields of composition, literature, philosophy, art, and science from diverse institutions across the country continue to develop and refine writing practices. These associates work with one another through ongoing conversations about teaching and writing, continuing to learn about what writing is and can be for their students and transmitting their knowledge and experience to teachers in IWT’s workshops.