Join humanities teachers in conversation.

Explore the art, science, and impact of student-led discussion.

This summer, you can learn R.E.A.L.® Discussion,

Online seminars and courses available for grades 6-12 humanities teachers.

Choose the time and format that works best for you.

​Registration opens in May 2020

Choose your own adventure!

A Two-Day, Synchronous Seminar

Modeled after our in-person seminars, this online experience takes a collaborative approach to strengthening your discussion toolkit.
  • Best for solo registrants or pairs of teachers from same school
  • Ideal for people who learn through conversation, collaborative reflection, and a structured schedule
  • Includes R.E.A.L.® teacher guide, with middle and high school frameworks as well as new resources for R.E.A.L.® Remote
  • Capped at 12 participants; first come, first serve.
  • July 15th and 16th: 10am to 4pm EST, with screen breaks and lunch hour.
Pricing $200 per teacher
$300 for two teachers (email for code)

An 4-5 Hour Asynchronous Online Course

Supplemented by optional live consulting with a R.E.A.L.® practitioner, this experience focuses on R.E.A.L.® in your context.

  • Best for teams of 3+ educators from a single school or team
  • Good fit for independent learners who need a flexible schedule or freedom to progress at their own pace
  • Includes R.E.A.L.®. teacher guide, with middle and high school frameworks as well as new resources for R.E.A.L.® Remote
  • Includes option for a 30-min consulting session after completing course
  • Courses will be open July 1 - September 1
Pricing $150 per teacher
$75 for 3+ teachers (email for code)

Special Offers for Summer 2020 Due to COVID-19

This summer, all participants will receive an expanded version of the R.E.A.L.® Teacher Guide, which includes middle and high school frameworks as well as concrete strategies for adapting R.E.A.L.® for remote learning environments. We are deeply committed to helping our students connect deeply with content and classmates in the year ahead — whether in physical or virtual classrooms!

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has undercut funding for professional development at many great schools. That said, equity is a cornerstone of R.E.A.L.® and we will do whatever we can to bring your — and your students’ — voices to the table. If you or a colleague is interested in learning R.E.A.L.®Discussion this summer but unable to pay full price, please email Liza.

Feedback from past participants: “Practical,” “Innovative,” and “Fun/Funny!”

Teachers have loved our in-person seminars, and we have worked hard to translate the best parts online. Over several summers, we’ve received feedback like:
  • 98% would “definitely recommend this seminar to colleague”
  • The top five words teachers use to describe R.E.A.L. workshops are: Practical, Innovative, Fun/Funny, Motivating, Helpful
  • 92% reported using R.E.A.L. “regularly” or “always” for student-led discussion in their classroom three months later

Both formats blend reflection with a focus on implementation.

Whether synchronously or asynchronously, participants will explore why discussion matters (to them as teachers as well as for students) and how to develop a discussion teaching practice that is rigorous, equitable and efficient (whether in person or online). R.E.A.L.® will be introduced as a framework for planning, integrating, and assessing student-led discussion that we hope you’ll adapt to fit your students, teaching style, and subject matter.

Both options include a copy of the Teacher Guide, expanded to include middle school (R.E.A.L.®Jr. for grades 6-8) and high school (R.E.A.L.®for grades 9-12) toolkits and resources for implementing R.E.A.L.® Remote in online learning environments.

Frequently Asked Questions

The short answer is “No.” The longer answer is that much of the growth participants cite comes from the conversation that unfolds between teachers as we engage with research and process our own experiences -- to say nothing of the network that outlasts any workshop. We promise to be purposeful and efficient with the time we have together!

Of course not, though 92% of participants to date have done so within three months. Our goal in these workshops and courses is to offer you a framework that we hope and expect you will adapt to fit your personal style and school context.

R.E.A.L. is a set of skills and routines that makes student-led discussion easier and deeper. For most teachers, it streamlines the logistical headaches of FishBowl one day, Harkness another, Socratic Seminar the next. For department chairs, R.E.A.L. can be thought of as a primer or year-long boot camp that builds skills students need to succeed in upper level, seminar-style courses.

No, not at all! But it is a system that approaches discussion differently. Using a combination of lived classroom experience and research about conversation that extends beyond educational contexts, we have reverse-engineered a system that solves for common pain points and structures students for success. It doesn’t promise perfect discussions, but approaching Discussion as a Discipline does guarantee growth. 

Students express relief at clear expectations, consistent routines, and a sense of purpose when it comes to discussion. Although students might not say they “love” their newfound growth mindsets, we count the statistic that after using R.E.A.L. 86% of students say that “discussion is something I can get better at if I work on it” (compared to 15% pre-R.E.A.L.) as a major victory! Teachers all report that R.E.A.L. improves student’s analytical writing and makes discussion itself more rigorous, equitable, and easier to assess. Many comment that it’s a lot less work than other methods, that they appreciate knowing that every student will be engaged and enjoy getting to know their students better in the process. 

Some students bristle at the level of structure (though most appreciate it over time, especially as they find themselves surprised by the ease and depth of the discussions).  Some teachers feel it’s hard to implement or that the learning curve is too steep (which we have worked hard to address through solutions like an online, video-based orientation for students). Others wonder at the relevance of a system that relies on handwritten manuals in the age of screens (we would respectfully refer those skeptics to the research, perhaps beginning with Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014) or Morehead, Dunlosky, and Rawson (2019)). 

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has undercut funding at many great schools. That said, equity is a cornerstone of R.E.A.L.® and we will do whatever we can to bring your – and your students’ – voices to the table. If you or your team is interested in learning R.E.A.L.®Discussion this summer but unable to pay full price, please email Liza.

Just ask! Shoot founder Liza Garonzik an email.

A two-day, synchronous seminar:

Cost: $200 / teacher

$300 for 2 teachers
(email for code)

An asynchronous online course:

Cost: $150 / teacher

$75 for 3+ teachers
(email for code)

About the instructor

Liza Garonzik developed R.E.A.L. Discussion after years teaching middle school Humanities and high school English and summers spent studying curriculum and instruction through The Klingenstein Center, Exeter Humanities Institute, and Athena. Trained as a teacher at Shady Hill School (MA), Liza holds degrees from Harvard College and Penn’s Graduate School of Education, with additional graduate work at Harvard GSE and Lesley University. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Nashoba Brooks School, the Board of Advisors at the Shady Hill TTC, and in Advancement at an independent school in Atlanta. Wherever she is, Liza is obsessed with the question of what makes discussions great — and often drives friends and family crazy by analyzing conversation patterns in her daily life.

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. 

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