What if we taught Gen-Z how to talk – and listen – to each other?

R.E.A.L. trains teachers to do exactly that.

We start with four skills: Relate, Excerpt, Ask, and Listen

Today’s students are tomorrow’s citizens, professionals, and parents.

They need discussion skills for success in learning – and in life. R.E.A.L.® empowers teachers to teach Gen-Z communication skills (without sacrificing course content). 

The Stakes are High

Discussion is at the heart of everything.

From great Humanities classrooms to healthy democracies to fulfilling relationships. But in a polarized, tech-centric world, productive face-to-face communication is a lost art.

For today’s kids, discussion is hard – and scary.

They would rather text than talk. They feel alone (despite being hyper-connected). They struggle to build real relationships, especially in-person and across any kind of difference. 

Teachers see this crisis in their classrooms daily.

They believe that discussion skills are teachable – but don’t have tools for the task. Most use methods designed centuries ago: for homogeneous classrooms and a screen-free world! 


Enter R.E.A.L.® Discussion

  • R.E.A.L.® is a program that empowers schools to teach Gen-Z students the discipline, power, and joy of great discussion. Every piece of it – from PD for Humanities Teachers to Curriculum for Gr. 7-10 students – is research-based.
  • R.E.A.L.® PD equips Humanities teachers to teach communication skills alongside their course content so every student feels heard and challenged. We help faculty take a growth-focused approach to their discussion practice.
  • R.E.A.L.® Curriculum gives 7th-10th grade students a method for leading rigorous, equitable, and screen-free conversations about course content. It starts with four skills: Relate, Excerpt, Ask, and Listen.

Shout outs from some of our teacher partners

Patrick, Middle School Humanities

Pam, Upper School History

Linda, Upper School History

Kay & Liz, Upper School Religion

About
R.E.A.L.® Discussion

Founder Liza Garonzik built R.E.A.L.® based on her experience as a teacher, administrator, and trustee in independent schools. Her “aha” moment came while teaching a Humanities class. Yet another “student-led” discussion had fallen flat: introverts withdrew, class clowns lobbed one-liners, majority voices dominated.

Discussion – a skill for learning and life – was difficult for the kids in her classroom. She saw that today’s students had new needs when it came to learning how to talk, trust, and listen to each other—and designed R.E.A.L.® to empower Humanities teachers to teach communication skills in their classrooms.

Our School Partners

How does R.E.A.L.® work?

R.E.A.L.® is a research-backed program that teachers integrate into their existing humanities curriculum to make student-led discussions rigorous, equitable, and relevant to Gen-Z. It starts with PD for Teachers + Curriculum for Students.

R.E.A.L.® is an acronym for four foundational skills students learn: Relate, Excerpt, Ask, and Listen. These are skills for learning – and real life. 

Essentially, R.E.A.L.® gives faculty a GPS for class discussions they can use to navigate today’s students towards thoughtful self-expression and deep listening —all within the bounds of existing curriculum.

Our promise

It is our hope and expectation that you will find the opportunity to learn R.E.A.L. Discussion to be useful, exciting, and fun! If that is not your experience after engaging fully with the activities and resources provided, we will certainly offer a refund in exchange for thoughtful, honest feedback.

Meet your guide
Liza Garonzik

Liza Garonzik is the Founder of R.E.A.L.® Discussion. She has served as a teacher, administrator, and trustee in independent schools.

Liza designed R.E.A.L. based on her experience teaching Humanities, her learnings at The Klingenstein Center, Exeter Humanities Institute, and Athena, and diving deep into educational research over a decade.

Liza holds degrees in History and Literature from Harvard College and Education from PennGSE, with additional graduate work at Harvard GSE and Lesley University. She trained as a teacher at Shady Hill.

She’s proud to serve on the Board of Trustees at Nashoba Brooks School and the Board of Advisors at Shady Hill TTC.

Wherever she is, Liza is obsessed with the question of what makes discussions great — and often drives friends crazy by analyzing conversation patterns in daily life. She speaks at conferences about the role of discussion in schools and society.


Features from our blog, In REAL Time: A Discussion About Discussion

Meet your guide
Liza Garonzik

Liza Garonzik is the Founder of R.E.A.L.® Discussion. She has served as a teacher, administrator, and trustee in independent schools.

Liza designed R.E.A.L. based on her experience teaching Humanities, her learnings at The Klingenstein Center, Exeter Humanities Institute, and Athena, and diving deep into educational research over a decade.

Liza holds degrees in History and Literature from Harvard College and Education from PennGSE, with additional graduate work at Harvard GSE and Lesley University. She trained as a teacher at Shady Hill.

She’s proud to serve on the Board of Trustees at Nashoba Brooks School and the Board of Advisors at Shady Hill TTC.

Wherever she is, Liza is obsessed with the question of what makes discussions great — and often drives friends crazy by analyzing conversation patterns in daily life. She often speaks at conferences on the role of discussion among society.

The impact of R.E.A.L.®

R.E.A.L.® has been implemented in diverse independent schools across subjects like History, English, Religion, and Humanities with students in grades 6-11. It has also been piloted in a select number of international and charter schools.


98%

of teachers would recommend R.E.A.L.® to a colleague


96%

of teachers would use the resources in their classroom next year


98%

of students report more confidence in speaking up in discussion


96%

of students listen more actively to their peers


94%

of students show a growth mindset towards discussion


5

The top five words teachers use to describe R.E.A.L. PD :
Practical, Innovative, Fun/Funny, Motivating, Helpful