Join humanities teachers in conversation.
Explore the art, science, and impact of student-led discussion.
R.E.A.L.® offers professional development for teachers and school leaders who want to make discussion intentional, inclusive, and easier to assess.
Choose virtual or in-person, synch or asynch, individual or team.
Co-design the training experience however works best for you.
Choose your own adventure!
For Team and School Leaders
When it comes to a R.E.A.L.® Launch Plan, it’s all custom. As a baseline, we charge $1500 for a full-day training session. So let’s start designing for better discussions, together!
Special Offers due to COVID-19
Given the complexities of teaching in a pandemic, participants will all 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 this year — 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!”
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.
For team and school leaders:
Custom launch plan.
Full day workshop, $1500
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.
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.