We've trained hundreds of teachers across dozens of independent schools through R.E.A.L.® PD.

100% say it makes class discussion “more equitable” AND “more rigorous.”

The first step is choosing which format works best for your team.

Certification (for Faculty) + Curriculum (for Students) + Community (for Schools)

Step 1: Certification. Identify Humanities teachers to get certified in the R.E.A.L.® method. Remember the sweet spot is grades 7-10.

Step 2: Curriculum. Select or customize R.E.A.L.® Coursepacks for students + strategize about the impact story you hope to tell.

Step 3: Community. Lean into all R.E.A.L.® has to offer: monthly events, resources, instructional coaching. There’s a reason teachers say R.E.A.L. is the “best PD ever.”

Want to get started? Introduce yourself and we’ll send you what you need!

We offer three paths for R.E.A.L.® certification.
(Faculty have loved them all!)

R.E.A.L.® for Your School:
Design Custom PD + Course Packs

  • Best for: Grade Level Teaching Teams (the sweet spot is grades 7-10!) + Visionary Academic Leaders
  • Format: Virtual Certification; In-Person Support and Coaching Available
  • Notes: access to year-round network of R.E.A.L.® practitioners
  • Dates: We'll work around your calendar!
  • Pricing: Depends on your vision. Certification starts at $600 / educator and Coursepacks start at $36 / student.

R.E.A.L.® Right Now!
The Train-Try-Talk Program

  • Best for: Visionary teachers who want to "pilot" R.E.A.L. for their school
  • Format: 2-Day Virtual Workshop
  • Notes: Once certified, you're invited to join the R.E.A.L. Community (events, resources, instructional coaching) through June 2022.
  • Dates: Train-Try-Talk sessions run monthly - and fill fast.
  • Pricing: $600 per educator. That includes Certification + 20 Student Coursepacks (Pilot Edition) + Community Access until June 2022

R.E.A.L.® with Friends:
Train with a Partner Network

  • Best for: Faculty at schools that belong to our partner associations (AISNE, MSON, NNSP, NCGS, PAIS) who want to pilot R.E.A.L. mid-year.
  • Format: it varies, but usually certification occurs over three short, cohort meetings instead of two full days.
  • Notes: exclusive to member schools
  • Dates: varies, refer to network website
  • Pricing: it varies. Check your association website for details!

About the instructor

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

Liza designed R.E.A.L. based on her experience teaching Humanities, learning at The Klingenstein Center, Exeter Humanities Institute, and Athena, and diving deep into ed 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.

Our Real 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. 

Curious which PD experience is the best fit?

Want to go a different direction, like booking Liza Garonzik as a speaker or designing a Department-wide workshop on Discussion as a Discipline?

Just let us know or join our list to stay in touch. We’re always up for a conversation!

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

Teachers have loved our in-person seminars, and we worked hard to translate the best parts online for increased flexibility. Across all formats, we’ve received feedback like:

Frequently Asked Questions

Ideally, a team of five or more teachers. It’s great if it’s an entire grade-level and even better if the group includes an administrator. Why? Because once R.E.A.L. gets into a school, people start talking about it. Thankfully, it’s usually “good press” but it’s definitely useful for someone in school leadership to have a baseline familiarity with the practice.

Yes! Our portfolio-based approach to assessing discussion is the “secret sauce” when it comes to how we make student-led conversation equitable, rigorous, and growth-focused. R.E.A.L.® Coursepacks come with print (Portfolio) and online (Portal) resources for each student; we're happy to show you a sample in a demo call. There are several different R.E.A.L.® Coursepack versions - and opportunities to customize for your school - all with unique ISBNs, so we will work with you to select the materials package that makes the most sense for your needs. Many schools sell R.E.A.L.® portfolios through bookstores or add them to lists of required texts the school procures.

R.E.A.L.® is for grades 6-11, with differentiated materials for middle and high schools. It works in any class that uses texts, gives homework, and does 10+ discussions in a year. Teachers have loved using it in English, History, Humanities, Leadership Studies, Religion, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary courses. It is great for back-to-back years (e.g. R.E.A.L.® Jr. in 8th grade, R.E.A.L.® in 9th) or as a way to help teachers in different departments speak the same language (e.g. if History and English teachers are co-creating an interdisciplinary course...).

R.E.A.L.® Discussion brings best practices from DEI research into rigorous academic contexts. We know that schools work hard to recruit diverse students and want to equip teachers to fully engage all students in discussion -- so kids can listen and learn from each other! Fundamentally: R.E.A.L. is a system for naming discussion dynamics (so we can start talking about them!) and making all voices heard (which makes discussion better).

Importantly, R.E.A.L.® offers DEI practitioners a concrete entry point for supporting academic teachers. How? R.E.A.L.® system expects and empowers teachers to study their class climate and students’ growth over the course of a semester (but in an easy, low-tech way -- no app-created dashboards). By aligning adults around common language and building systems for collecting and analyzing classroom-level evidence, we can make our progress visible.

And the best part? R.E.A.L.® doesn’t only make discussion more inclusive. Every single teacher who has used it also says it makes conversation more rigorous and easier to assess.

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 but unable to pay full price, please email Liza.

R.E.A.L.® for Your School

Custom PD Paths + Coursepacks structure R.E.A.L.® for success in your school culture.

R.E.A.L.® Right Now

The Train-Try-Talk Program will give you what you need to pilot R.E.A.L.® ASAP.

R.E.A.L.® with Friends

R.E.A.L.® Certification, Pilot Materials, and Community offered in partnership with school networks.

Teach today's students the power of discussion and make every voice heard.

In the words of one R.E.A.L. teacher: 

“Is there a more important calling for our times?” 

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