Instructor and Director of the Oregon Writing Project
Linda Christensen is the Director of the Oregon Writing Project (OWP), located in the Graduate School of Education at Lewis & Clark College. The OWP is part of the National Writing Project network, the oldest and largest professional development project in the United States. Linda is the author of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching about Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word, Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-Imagining the Language Arts Classroom. She has co-edited several books, including The New Teacher Book Finding Purpose, Balance, and Hope During Your First Years in the Classroom and Rethinking School Reform: Views from the Classroom. She has given keynote addresses at local, national, and international conferences about her work on literacy and social justice. She taught high school Language Arts and worked as Language Arts Curriculum Specialist for thirty years in Portland, Oregon. She is a member of the Rethinking Schools editorial board. She has received numerous awards, including the Fred Heschinger Award for use of research in teaching and writing from National Writing Project and the U.S. West Outstanding Teacher of Western United States and most recently, the Humanitarian Award from Willamette Writers.
Finding Joy and Justice in the Classroom
Linda talks about her book, Teaching for Joy and Justice, and what it means to create space for teachers to be intellectuals and artists in the classroom.
“I attempt to keep my vision—and hope—alive by participating in critical teaching groups. These groups help me think more carefully about social justice issues inside as well as outside of the classroom, from literacy practices to top-down curricular policies. Our sometimes-heated discussions about articles, books, and curriculum hone my ability to evaluate my work. I carry these voices—and the solidarity of these teachers—like a Greek chorus in my mind. They remind me to question and sometimes to defy those in authority when I’m told to participate in practices that harm children. They nettle me when I fall into easy patterns and point out when I deliver glib answers to difficult problems.”
Linda’s current research is focused on building academic confidence and competence with struggling readers and writers. She is also continuing her research the issues of teaching and social justice.
- “Finding Voice: Learning about Language and Power,” Voices from the Middle, Volume 18 Number 3, March 2011.
- Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, Stephanie Walters, (2010) The New Teacher Book: Finding Purpose, Balance, and Hope During Your First Years in the Classroom. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.
- Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-Imagining the Language Arts Classroom, (2009) Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.
- “Putting Out the Linguistic Welcome Mat, Educational Leadership. September, 2008.
- “The Power of Words: Top-Down Mandates Masquerade as Social Justice Reforms.”Language Arts, Volume 85, Number 2, November 2007.
- “Keeping a Social Justice Vision in the Land of Scripted Literacy” Language Arts, Volume 83, Number 5, May 2006.
- Christensen, Linda, and Stan Karp. (2003) Rethinking School Reform. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.
- Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word. (2000) Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools.
- “Critical Literacy: Reading, Writing, and Outrage.” Making Justice Our Project. (1999) Urbana: NCTE Press.
- “Writing the Word and the World.” Teaching for Social Justice. (1998) New York: New Press & Teachers College Press.
M.Ed. 1981 University of Portland, B.A. 1973 Humboldt State University
From the Newsroom
Professors Linda Christensen and Dyan Watson are co-editors of Rethinking Elementary Education, which was given top honors in the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards.
Linda Christensen, director of the Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark, reflects on being a veteran teacher who still sometimes fails to connect curriculum to her students’ lives—and about the dire consequences of that failure for her students.