R.E.A.L.® PD gives Humanities teachers a method for making class discussion equitable and rigorous.
The first step is choosing which format works best for your team.
We offer a range of cohort-based, hybrid PD experiences for humanities teaching teams.
All R.E.A.L.® trainings make use of best practices from DEI and CBL and prepare teachers to use R.E.A.L.® in their classrooms. Our “sweet spot” is grades 7-10 Humanities. We love to work across disciplines and include specialists (e.g. DEI practitioners, learning specialists, faculty coaches).
Want to get started? Let us send you what you need – we’re happy to.
R.E.A.L.® offers three paths for Professional Development.
Team or School Cohort
Best for 5-12 teachers from your school
Format: virtual, in-person, or hybrid
Notes: access to year-round network of R.E.A.L.® practitioners
Dates: We'll work around your calendar!
Pricing: Depends on your vision. PD starts at $500 per educator. Volume discounts on student materials available.
R.E.A.L.® R&D Fellows
Best for 1-2 teachers from a single school
Format: virtual and synchronous
Notes: R&D Fellows’ experience using R.E.A.L.® will inspire future product design. Fellows should be ready to innovate, reflect, and share!
Dates: PD sessions will be June 10-11 OR July 14-15.
Pricing: PD is $450 per educator. Volume discounts unlikely for student materials.
Through a Network
Best for faculty at schools that belong to: NCGS, NNSP, SSTS, or MSON
Format: varies, but all cohort and network based
Notes: exclusive to member schools
Dates: varies, refer to network website
Pricing: for more details, reach out below
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:
As a facilitator, Liza takes advantage of the expertise of each participant in the group. There is a great balance between learning, processing, and applying these techniques with concrete examples, making sure you can walk away from the course with strategies that can immediately impact your classroom.”
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.® Student Portfolios come with an Online Orientation, which makes the process of learning the R.E.A.L.® method student, rather than teacher, led (this is easier and more exciting for everyone!). There are several different R.E.A.L.® Portfolio versions, 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 is DEI work. It demystifies discussion so that all students understand what it takes to succeed and so teachers get feedback on their classroom climate. Research and recent social media movements have highlighted class discussion as a place where students’ familiarity -- or lack thereof -- with embedded cultural norms and relationship with the teacher often determine their success. R.E.A.L.® is an equity project, 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.
All teachers will leave R.E.A.L.® PD ready to integrate R.E.A.L.® into their practice, having already considered how to adapt the R.E.A.L.® system for their classroom context and teaching style. Through the R.E.A.L.® training, faculty will have workshopped rubrics and been proactive in identifying and talking through potential areas of challenge.
All teachers trained through R.E.A.L.® will also have access to a national cohort of educators committed to furthering the Discussion about Discussion, including invitations to online meet-ups. All R.E.A.L.® practitioners also receive ongoing thought leadership through our blog, In-R.E.A.L.-Time!
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.
Custom Team Solution
Custom built programs for teams of 5+ teachers
Off-the-Shelf: Virtual Seminar
A two-day experience that brings together teachers across schools
Network Exclusive Experiences
R.E.A.L.® training offered in partnership with school networks
About the instructor
Liza Garonzik developed R.E.A.L. Discussion through 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 serves 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.