Instructional Skills Workshop Facilitator Portal

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Instructional Skills Workshop Materials
ISW Materials
Welcome to the ISW Materials Portal. You will find ISW materials contributed by facilitators as well as resources on a diverse range of teaching and learning topics, strategies, issues and tools.
Photo Credit
Original photo by Makoto

Instructional Skills Workshops (ISW) are full-day workshops designed for graduate students and faculty members who wish to develop new teaching skills, enhance existing ones and/or try out challenging new ideas. Working with your peers and trained facilitators, you will review important concepts in group teaching situations, give 3 mini-lessons and receive valuable feedback in a supportive atmosphere.

This portal provides a basic overview of ISW activities at UBC including a list of facilitators and links to research on ISWs.

Note: ISW Materials such as lesson plans are available at the ISW Facilitator Resource Page

The ISW Handbook

The ISW Handbook is under copyright, and can be downloaded by ISW facilitators and trainers in Spanish and English with permission from the ISW Network

ISW Facilitators

ISW facilitators are individuals who have been identified as good teachers, by students, faculty colleagues, or other facilitators. Included in their ranks are graduate students/teaching assistants, sessional lecturers and faculty members. All of them are committed to helping colleagues improve their teaching competence and confidence. Facilitating the Instructional Skills Workshops, and making the experience a successful one for all participants, is one way that they work to make a difference in this area.

Teaching & ISW Facilitation Techniques

Below is a list of various facilitation and teaching techniques that can be used and modeled to ISW participants during an ISW.

To add a technique to this list, just create a new page with the technique name as the title, a description of how to use the technique, and make sure it has the following category tags included somewhere in the article:

  • [[category:ISW Facilitation Techniques]]
  • [[category:ISW Materials]]

Teaching and Learning Resource Portal

My picture old school.png This page is part of the Teaching and Learning Resources Portal

The Teaching and Learning Resources Portal provides an overview and bibliographies on a range of teaching and learning topics, strategies, issues and tools.

Do you have resources to share? Is there a topic without a page yet? Contribute to the portal by adding resources or creating your own page!

Classic CTLT Teaching and Learning Resource Packages

ISW facilitators often refer participants seeking more information on ISW topics to CTLT Resource Room's hard-copy resource packages. Those packages are now available online. The bibliography on each of the pages listed below includes the resources from our classic resource packages as well as updated materials.

Recommended Resources in the CTLT Resource Room

About the CTLT Resource Room

  • Kaner, S., & Lind, L. (1996). Facilitator's guide to participatory decision-making. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers.
This book will give readers additional tools and insight to enable effective, participatory action and the potential to achieve strong, principled results and positive social change. Anyone wanting to increase their understanding of group dynamics and improve their skill at making group work more effectively will benefit from this valuable book.
  • Schuman, S. (2005). The IAF handbook of group facilitation best practices from the leading organization in facilitation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Sponsored by the International Association of Facilitators, The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation offers the need-to-know basics in the field brought together by fifty leading practitioners and scholars. This indispensable resource includes successful strategies and methods, foundations, and resources for anyone who works with groups. The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation provides an overview of the field for new and aspiring practitioners and a reliable reference for experienced group facilitators, including chapters on
  • Strachan, D., & Pitters, M. (2009). Managing facilitated processes : A guide for consultants, facilitators, managers, trainers, event planners, and educators (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Filled with customizable templates and checklists, this practical and comprehensive workbook will help organizers manage the often devilish details that underpin the success of facilitated group sessions. The authors cover such key topics as awareness about personal style, how participants are selected and invited, where a session is held, how presentations are aligned with session objectives, how to use worksheets, what food to serve, types of reports, and approaches to soliciting feedback. An accompanying Web site includes downloadable e-versions of all the tools and templates in the book. Dorothy Strachan (Ottawa, ON, Canada) is a partner in Strachan-Tomlinson (ST) and Associates in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Marian Pitters is the president of Pitters Associates Inc., a Canadian management consulting firm.
  • Strachan, D., & Tomlinson, P. (2008). Process design : Making it work : A practical guide to what to do when and how for facilitators, consultants, managers, and coaches (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
"Process Design: Making It Work" helps process consultants, managers, facilitators, coaches, organizational development consultants - and anyone else who works with groups - to set up and deliver dynamic, creative process designs. Filled with illustrative cases, examples, and templates, this step-by-step resource is an invaluable aid when creating customized agendas and designs for situations ranging from basic meetings to complex, multiphased processes.

ISW Scholarship Literature Review

Links to scholarly articles about the ISW, or that support various principles or practices that are part of ISW.

On the ISW

This study was undertaken to explore the nature and impact of the Instructional Skills Workshop process on faculty members and their teaching practice. It draws on Lewin’s theory of change and Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation to analyze both survey and interview data from faculty members who have completed the ISW at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and to identify transformative learning with respect to their teaching and their students’ learning. After reviewing a range of literature about transformative learning, adult education, and the needs of faculty members, this research aimed to discover their prior teaching practices and to identify the improvement of this practice after taking the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Available since 1978, and offered in most universities, colleges, and institutes in British Columbia, the ISW is the longest running professional development activity for post-secondary educators in the province. Through reference to the original educational theories used in the development of the ISW and bringing ideas from new theorists since its inception, a model has been built to encompass the process and identify a basis for the impact that the course has on the participants. The survey and interview research reported here has identified the positive support that participants have experienced as they examined and changed their teaching practices with the intention of improving student learning. The quantitative results and interview narratives describe the immediate and long lasting impacts of the ISW, including awareness of various learning styles, taking an appreciative approach, connections with colleagues, and other effects as experienced by the participants. It also gives a basis for suggestions on ways to enhance and extend communities of practice around teaching and other benefits experienced.
  • Day, R. & the ISW International Advisory Committee. (2005). Instructional Skills Workshop: The Heart of an Educator Learning Community in British Columbia and Beyond
For over 25 years, the Instructional Skills Workshop program has been growing and spreading around the world. In its original home of British Columbia, it has been critically important as a network that connects graduate students, faculty and faculty developers from colleges, institutes and universities into one post- secondary educator learning community. As it has spread across the country (active in 7+ provinces), across the continent (active in 10+ US states), and across the world (active in 10+ countries), the community continues to grow--entirely on the strength of the program and volunteer spirit. This poster and associated handout describe the basic structure of the workshop and reports anecdotally on the participant experience with what some have called “a life changing workshop.”
  • Day, R. & the ISW International Advisory Committee. (2004). Instructional Skills Workshop: From Grassroots Initiative to International Perspectives
The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) is a direct-experience workshop that includes micro-teaching, video feedback, designing lessons with achievable learning objectives, and institutionally relevant topics. When conducting professional development activities, faculty developers model good teaching practices. Embedded in the ISW are many of those highly desirable pedagogical (andragogical) elements that developers wish to promote. The ISW is a very successful program that has survived and flourished in part because of the grassroots desire to promote better teaching and learning. The ISW is more than 25 years old, international in scope, with hundreds of facilitators, active at 100+ colleges, institutes and universities. Described herein are the basic elements of the peer-led, 24-hour workshop (3 or 4 days), including information about the amount of logistical effort required. Thousands of participants report that it promotes positive, reflective teaching practices, improves teaching, and increases self-confidence.
  • Kerr, D.W. (1980). The Instructional Skills Program. Unpublished Ministry of Education Major Paper. Vancouver: University of British Columbia.
In instructional consultation, faculty and teaching assistants elicit and review feedback on teaching in collaboration with others. Most colleges and universities provide student rating feedback but few complement it with instructional consultation. As public pressure for accountability in teaching is placed alongside the challenge of more diverse student groups, interest in instructional consultation is likely to grow. Use of teaching portfolios may spark additional interest.
There are many existing services. The Typology of Instructional Consultation Programs is offered as a way to classify them. When method of organization (for individuals or groups) is combined with role relationship between the participant and the person in the consultative role (developer as consultant, peer as consultant, peer as partner), six program types are identified. In the traditional type, developers provide consultative services to individuals. The other five are referred to as peer-based instructional consultation and include two for individuals (peer consultant and peer partner) and three for groups (levelled workshop, peer-led workshop, and support groups). Instructional consultation is described as collaborative faculty development, a term introduced here to link active learning for faculty with other literature on collaborative learning.
  • Morrison, D.E. (1985). "Opening doors to better teaching: The role of peer-based instructional consultation. The Instructional Skills Workshop: An inter-institutional approach". To Improve the Academy, 4, 75-83.
In instructional consultation, faculty and teaching assistants elicit and review feedback on teaching in collaboration with others. Most colleges and universities provide student rating feedback but few complement it with instructional consultation. As public pressure for accountability in teaching is placed alongside the challenge of more diverse student groups, interest in instructional consultation is likely to grow. Use of teaching portfolios may spark additional interest.
  • Morrison, D.E. (1997). “Overview of instructional consultation in North America”. In K. Brinko & R. Menges (Eds.), Practically Speaking: A Sourcebook for Instructional Consultants in Higher Education, 121-129. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
Practically Speaking is a uniquely comprehensive resource about instructional consultation in higher education -- At many colleges, universities, and professional schools, consultants are available to faculty who wish to assess and improve their teaching. Consultation is widely regarded as a powerful intervention for improving teaching and learning. No service provided by teaching centers has greater potential for producing deep and enduring effects on teachers and teaching. A think tank was charged with identifying the knowledge base underlying instructional consultation, examining current practices, and recommending how best practices might best be disseminated. This book is the result of the think tank's work. The book offers a thoughtful blend of research-based principles and practical advice. It speaks practically to the practitioner.
In this chapter of the book, Morrison gives an overview of instructional consultation in North America. The article includes: Parameters of instructional consultation; Essential components of instructional consultation; Research on Instructional consultation; A typology of instructional consultation programs; Individual consultation programs; Group consultation programs; Changes in instructional consultation.
  • Smith, R.A., Pang, M., & Chuah, K.B. (2001). Building a Teaching Culture: The Instructional Skills Workshop in Hong Kong.
In this paper the authors describe the implementation of the ISW program at CityU, including the training of ISW facilitators and the reactions of participants.
The paper is divided into five parts: What is an ISW?; What is involved in starting an ISW program in a university?; The process behind becoming an ISW facilitator; Reflections of a participant in an ISW; Suggestions for future directions.
  • Wilbee, J. (1997). The Instructional Skills Program: A peer-based model of the improvement of teaching and learning. In K. Brinko and R. Menges (eds.), Practically Speaking: A Sourcebook for Instructional Consultants in Higher Education. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
In this article, Wilbee gives and overview of the ISW program, suggests the criteria for selecting the Instructional Skills Facilitator Team and highlights the benefits of the ISW Program.

On ISW-Related Topics

  • Active Learning
  • Learning Style
  • Multiple Intelligence
  • Peer Feedback
  • Role Play
  • Self-Reflection
  • etc.

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