The Guthridge Writing System
In 1974, George Guthridge (“Dr. G.”) set out to take the mystery out of learning to write. He wanted students to do what he did naturally.
Some GWS Successes
- By 1976, many of his developmental English students were publishing in nationally circulated, professional magazines.
- In 1984, he taught Siberian-Yupik (Eskimo) students in a 41-student high school in Gambell, a whale- and walrus-hunting village on a blizzard-swept island in the Bering Sea.
The school district entered the students in what was generally considered the most difficult academic competition in the nation.
The Gambell students had no computers and almost no books. They had weak reading and writing skills and spoke English as a second language.
They had to compete against teams from schools and programs for the gifted on subjects – such as genetic engineering and nuclear waste disposal – that the Gambell students had never heard of before.
Using Dr. G.’s method, the Gambell students became the first all-Native American team to win a national academic championship. And they did it twice.
- Between 1982 and 1988, using his method, his students submitted 15 short stories to an international competition for young people. Nine of them placed, including the 1984 high school runner-up and the 1985 junior high school international champion.
- In 1988, four junior high students in a 21-student high school in another village where he coached won the state championship in academics. Their score, at the state and national level, has never been exceeded.
- In 1994, three people attended a two-hour fiction-writing workshop Dr. G. gave. One had been trying to sell stories for twenty years. The other two had never written fiction. The first story the unpublished writer wrote thereafter was published in Twilight Zone and won the international award for best first mystery. One of the two new writers won three national writing competitions, including grand prize of a trip to Maui.
- In 2005, Alaska Gateway School District conducted an experiment with GWS. Half of the students were taught using GWS and half were taught using whatever system teachers wished. The GWS students outscored their counterparts by a full grade. Some special-ed students outscored students identified as academically excellent.
- In 2006 and 2007, two students in Dr. G.’s university fiction-writing class won the state writing competition. Neither had ever written fiction before.