The Toronto Writing Project supports educators to address equity issues in their classrooms through writing.
Centre for Urban Schooling at OISE, University of Toronto
Toronto District School Board
Toronto Catholic District School Board
George Brown College
The Toronto Writing Project (TWP) in the Centre for Urban Schooling (CUS) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) supports activist educators to conduct inquiries into their own classroom practices and share knowledge with peers who may face related issues teaching diverse students in urban schools.
Composed of teachers, activists, and researchers who view writing as a mechanism for addressing equity issues across subject matter, across core subjects, TWP encourages formal and informal research opportunities for youth and teachers working individually and collaboratively to address equity issues in their classrooms, schools, and communities. This arrangement allows teachers to develop a broad range of perspectives on what goes on in their own classrooms and larger educational communities. In addition to drawing inspiration from some of the central tenets of the National Writing Project (NWP) and the Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP), TWP focuses on the following four priorities:
Creating a community of inquiry through monthly meetings that explore issues in teaching writing for social justice. Monthly meetings invite members to lead in-depth seminars framed around a specific issue of research and/or practice. These inquiry-based seminars encourage members to investigate aspects of their current teaching contexts through exploring research questions, dilemmas, student relationships, and problems of practice. These sessions inform individual’s ongoing research and practice, and may also inform publications or presentations to the broader field.
Developing a network of critical educators in the GTA through summer institutes related to writing and equity. Members of TWP will work together to plan and direct a two-day spring institute for educators funded by the Ruth and Alexander Dworkin Tolerance fund. The institute will be a space for teachers to engage in sustained inquiries into how writing can be a means of exploring issues of culture, context, and identity in urban classrooms. Sustained co-investigation in the institutes can foster connections and collaboration across communities of practice, from the Centre for Urban Schooling, to the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto District Catholic School Board, community-based programs, community colleges, as well as teacher education programs such as the Master of Teaching Program at OISE.
Linking with national and international networks of critical educators. TWP intends to develop connections with other local communities and networks of educators concerned with critical research and practice in urban schools. This may involve formalizing a relationship with the National Writing Project in the US, the largest research network by and for writing teachers in the world. Using the Knowledge Innovation Technology Lab (KITL) at OISE, TWP can develop video links with urban sites of the National Writing Project to share research, issues, and insights in critical writing pedagogy. Possible sites to develop connections with include the Manitoba Writing Project, led by Drs. Michelle Honeyford and Wayne Serebrin at University of Manitoba and Philadelphia Writing Project, led by Dr. Diane Waff at the University of Pennsylvania. These connections to other urban communities of critical educators can be a means of sharing our knowledge and experiences, and developing collaborative research possibilities across national and international borders.
Developing opportunities for educators to engage in cross-visitation. Members of TWP will be encouraged to teach and learn together by engaging in cross-visitation, which may include observations in classrooms, collaboration, sharing resources, and developing opportunities for collective research.