However we might try, whatever words we use to explain and describe IWT’s work will never be quite as powerful as the words of the teachers who have participated in our workshops at Bard or on site at their schools. Here and interspersed throughout the site are recent workshop participants in their own words:


quotation markI've been participating on and off for 12 years in IWT Bard workshops. My students' work is notably more engaging and sophisticated due to all the techniques I've learned. The basic premise that writing is thinking has changed my classroom practice. My students think and write and write and learn to trust and follow what emerges. I could list specific techniques I've learned, but the point, overall, is that my students are learning to discover what they care about through their writing and to write their way into the world. As a result, their analysis of literature and their essays are much, much more precise, original, interesting, and engaging. As a result, they understand the power of their own writing and their own ideas.quotation mark

Jill Veleas, John Jay High School, Katonah, NY 

quotation markI truly believe IWT saved my soul as a teacher. Or maybe a better way to put it is that it put the joy back into teaching for me [...] I have witnessed how writing together can help create bonds and a shared sense of purpose, how we can get to know ourselves, each other and test ideas through writing, and how a group of people writing together, listening to each other’s writing, and entering into conversations with other texts or ideas is an ideal (and attainable) and truly humanistic model for formulating and exchanging knowledge. Over the years, I’ve seen this model work in classrooms, in faculty meetings, in workshop planning sessions, with people who have never written in a group before, and with long time “disciples” of the practices.quotation mark

—Sharon Marshall, St. John’s University, IWT associate

However we might try, whatever words we use to explain and describe IWT’s work will never be quite as powerful as the words of the teachers who have participated in our workshops at Bard or on site at their schools. Here and interspersed throughout the site are recent workshop participants in their own words:

Teacher Testimonials

One insight I've gained is that there are many more tools than I imagined for digging into texts and connecting kids to their writing; that in my classes we don't do nearly enough of the steady diet of writing to think and arrive at insights. Writing and Thinking, July 2012
     -- 10-12 English

It's been a few years since I've been to a Bard workshop. It's good to be reminded of what I value and why - good to have a chance to share and learn from others. I'm taking away lots to reflect on and think about. My teaching of this novel will be affected in many positive ways. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn: Facing the Challenge of Teaching an American Classic, April 2011
     --10-11 English

I've gained insight into the kinds of questions to ask to produce the kinds of writing I want the students to do. Thinking Historically through Writing, December 2011
     --Social Studies/History, grades 6-8

An enjoyable, insightful, and thought-provoking workshop. Teaching the Academic Paper, December 2011
     --9-12 English

I'm still processing everything I learned. Writing to Learn, December 2011
     -- Biology and Forensic Science, College

Just about the best professional development session I've ever been to. Facts in Fiction / Fiction in Fact: Dave Eggers'  Zeitoun, November 2011
     -- High School English and Journalism   

(The workshop leader) was exemplary--extremely organized and purposeful yet highly attentive to the gueries and questions of the participants. She was very knowledgeable and an excellent guide. Playing the Deceptive Character in Arthur Miller's Crucible, November 2011
     -- 6-10 English 

I will take away from this week’s workshop new confidence that I can teach writing, not just assign and evaluate it. Writing and Thinking, July 2011
     -- 10-11 English and writing center 

I have never been more challenged at a workshop while simultaneously feeling supported. Writing and Thinking, July 2011
     -- 7-8 English

What will I take away from this week’s workshop? Excellent conversations with peers; practical exercises to do in the classroom; renewed enthusiasm to try these practices out; the desire to give more time to writing and less to “discussions”; the desire to let the students’ personal connections inform the texts and be informed by the text. Writing to Learn, July 2011
     -- 10-11 English 

These practices will create a dynamic, insightful educational environment…I would highly recommend this program to teachers, administrators (and even parents). Teaching the Academic Paper, July 2011
     -- 9-12 History

I believe that many of IWT's strategies helped students decode sophisticated language without the anxiety they usually feel. This program has been life altering. Writing to Learn, April 2010.
-- High School English

I will take away from this week’s workshop the determination to get students away from the five paragraph essay form, knowledge of inquiry writing, the exploratory essay, understanding of the focused freewrites and other kinds of short generative writing to give students material to pull together longer pieces. Writing and Thinking, July 2011
     -- Grade 10 writing; AP Psychology  

I daily incorporate at least one practice I’ve learned at IWT. Poetry for Today’s Classrooms, July 2011  
     -- 11-12 and AP English   

This workshop will radically change my teaching for the better. Can’t wait to get started. Writing and Thinking, July 2011
     -- 9-10 English 

I have realized I need to rethink the process by which I introduce and scaffold a major research paper project. This workshop has been very helpful…(and was)…exciting because of the multi-disciplinary nature of the participants. Teaching the Academic Paper, July 2011
     --11-12 English  

This has been the best, most productive workshop I’ve ever done. Ever. It was rigorous, vigorous, and so much fun. I loved learning with such great teachers. Writing and Thinking, July 2011
     -- High School English  

What insights have I gained from this week’s workshop? That I need to become a better teacher by working on it and not trusting that hours in the classroom will inevitably lead to improvement…I will definitely come back! Writing and Thinking, July 2011
     --11-12 English  

The workshop let me experience the method … I will take away a list of wonderful tools to use in my classroom.” First Year Seminar, June 2011
     -- American University of Central Asia

I see that an academic paper has more value and use than I thought, and that it isn’t as narrow a form as I thought…I was really moved and delighted by how terrific this experience was. Why don’t more college professors come? Teaching the Academic Paper, July 2011
     -- Philosophy, College 

I'll take away from this workshop many many things. Primarily, though, the opportunity and possibility of bringing my students into broader academic/intellectual conversations/discourse - even in small ways. Teaching the Academic Paper, December 2010
     -- Theater/Public Speaking, grades 9-12 

I think the Institute workshop approach of learning through doing gives the teacher a deeper, more meaningful professional development experience which can enter our own practice more naturally as it has been stored in our brain as a direct experience instead of something theoretical we have been lectured on. The workshop leader was outstanding. Writing to Learn, December 2011
     -- Middle School English/Humanities 

I admit to bringing my calendar so if you droned on I could accomplish something (sorry--past experience).  You brought back my love of the work.  Writing and Thinking, May 2009
     -- High school English