Begg ’15 to Present on National Writing Project – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Begg ’15 to Present on National Writing Project

This March, Chelsea Begg ’15 will present her research, “Inside the National Writing Project: The Philosophy of Teaching Learning” at the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in Tampa, Fla. The Conference on College Composition and Communication supports and promotes the teaching and study of college composition and communication.

Begg’s research builds on her experience working for the National Writing Project and represents a semester-long research project for “Power and Persuasion,” a core course in the writing & rhetoric major and minor that focuses on rhetorical theory and methodology.

As an intern for The National Writing Project, Begg, a writing and rhetoric and English double major and education minor, focused on the promotional materials of the organization and their philosophy of teachers teaching teachers.

“I worked alongside teachers and faculty alike who strived to enhance an understanding of the writing process to students. We facilitated conversations and provided workshops in order to develop a fun and constructive writing curriculum for students,” she explains.

When assigned to pick a nonprofit or ideology to examine in Assistant Professor of Writing & Rhetoric Maggie Werner’s class, “Power and Persuasion,” Begg chose to further explore the National Writing Project. Each week, students analyzed their organization through a different rhetorical lens, ultimately revealing what tools organizations use to connect and influence their audiences.

“In doing this, I found that the main audience for the National Writing Project is bad teachers, teachers who self-proclaim their inabilities to teach writing well and therefore volunteer for the Writing Project. Because of this, I argued that the philosophy of teachers teaching teachers, although good in theory, may be detrimental to the learning of students if volunteers are, for the most part, struggling teachers,” she explains.

Begg’s work at the National Writing Project as well as her analysis of the organization has only increased her desire to improve writing curriculum in secondary education.

“I don’t think it’s stressed enough and therefore, in doing this project, I hope to raise an awareness about writing and hopefully start conversations about the way the writing process can and should be implanted into secondary education,” she says.

Begg is a Writing Fellow in the Center for Teaching and Learning and also works at the Finger Lakes Career and Technical School through the education program.