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Efficacy of Long-term Professional Development: RWCT Retrospective (Latvia)

Victoria Gillis

Victoria Gillis, University of Wyoming

Publication Date: 2014
Department: Education

Research Question
What was the professional impact of participation in Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking (RWCT) for the original teachers who became RWCT certified Trainers? Do classroom teachers who have been educated and or trained by RWCT Trainers implement the principles of RWCT in their everyday teaching? How might the impacts on participants in Latvia and results of RWCT training, as viewed in classrooms, be applied to similar professional development programs in Wyoming?

Research focused on long term professional development is scarce. This research would add to the literature about effective professional development for educators.

Methods Used
Qualitative research methods include data collection from interviewing former and current RWCT trainers, surveying those trainers that are unavailable for interviews, and observing classes in Latvia, some of which are taught by teachers trained in RWCT methodologies. Constant comparative analysis procedures using content analysis of transcripts of interviews, responses to surveys, and observation notes are being used.

Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking (RWCT) was a professional development project supported by the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the International Reading Association. Over 25 Eastern European countries worked with professional educator volunteers from the US, Canada, the UK and Australia, who delivered interactive workshops designed to support development of a comprehensive, sustained, in-country professional development project that adhered to the precepts of RWCT but that was unique to each country’s educational context. Evaluation of RWCT conducted by the American Institute of Research found the project significantly impacted students’ abilities to think critically. The goals for this study are two-old: to determine how involvement in RWCT has impacted the original participants with respect to their professional lives; and to observe classes taught by teachers who have been trained by RWCT trainers to determine if the RWCT precepts are visible in the classes fifteen years after the original training.

Currently, Victoria is analyzing data from interviews and observations and awaiting the translation of surveys into Latvian [the survey will be online]. Preliminary results of interviews and classroom observations indicate that the Latvian RWCT project is ongoing, has been adapted for specific conditions in Latvian education, and continues to be successful. The principles of RWCT, including active learning and critical thinking embedded in instruction, are evident in the classes observed. Questions that remain unanswered, some of which have emerged from this inquiry, relate to RWCT projects in other countries and how they compare to the Latvian experience.


Recommended Citation
Gillis, Victoria, "Efficacy of Long-term Professional Development: RWCT Retrospective (Latvia)" (2014). CGS Faculty Awards 2015. 8.

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