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Participants begin five-day Facilitators Development Workshop at CTE

Monday, May 8, 2017

Every two years, CTE offers the the FacilitatInstructional Skills Workshop logoors Development Workshop (FDW) to ten participants interested in becoming trained Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) facilitators. These future ISW facilitators will dedicate a week of their time (40-hours) to their teaching professional development as they prepare to guide teaching colleagues through the ISW program. This year's FDW will be facilitated by Waterloo's Monica Vesely, Instructional Developer, Faculty Programs and Development, and McMaster University's Erin Aspenlieder, Educational Developer, Program Enhancement Lead. Continue reading to learn more or visit our ISW program event page.

Image source: Instructional Skills Network

What is the ISW Program?

The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) is a comprehensive three-tiered instructor development program designed to enhance the teaching effectiveness of both new and experienced educators. The Facilitator Development Workshop (FDW) is the second tier of this program, where participants develop the capacity to lead the Instructional Skills Workshop. Completion of the ISW is a typical prerequisite to the FDW.

The prerequisite Instructional Skills Workshop is an intense 24-hour peer-based workshop that involves participants in cycles of mini-lessons accompanied by written, verbal and video feedback. It challenges the participants to explore new approaches to their teaching while at the same time being intentional about their lesson planning approach. The program started in 1978 in British Columbia and subsequently spread across Canada and the US. It is now an internationally recognized and facilitated program.

The follow-up five-day Facilitator Development Workshop is designed for individuals who have completed the Instructional Skills Workshop and who wish to run the ISW for their teaching colleagues. The activities of the ISW form the nucleus of the FDW as participants acquire further knowledge and develop new techniques for facilitating group development, explore other teaching methods and formative evaluation techniques, and receive feedback on their own teaching and facilitating skills. As with the ISW, the FDW is a peer-based model providing participants a small group setting in which to work on their facilitation skills. The small groups meet in plenary sessions each day featuring such themes as learner diversity, group development, giving and receiving feedback and the use of questions in teaching, among others. The FDW provides an opportunity for individuals to concentrate on their own professional development in a challenging and supportive atmosphere. Some chairpersons participate in the FDW to enhance their competence in providing constructive feedback for their teaching colleagues. Upon completion of the FDW, participants can become part of a larger instructional development network and continue to share teaching professional development ideas with peers both on this campus and at other institutions.

ISW at the University of Waterloo

The first Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) offered at the University of Waterloo took place in May of 2008. Nine years and almost 250 participants later, it is now a well-established component of CTE’s core programming, running 3 to 4 times a year (typically in February, May, August and December). The Facilitators Development Workshop (FDW) was first offered to a group of four participants in May of 2011. Since that inaugural FDW offering, the Facilitators Development Workshop has been integrated into CTE’s regular programming and now runs every other year in May with 10 participants (our last offering was in May of 2015 and our current offering will take place this next month, May 8 -12, 2017).

If you are an ISW alumnus and are interested in becoming an ISW facilitator, I encourage you to contact me, Monica Vesely ( to have your name added to our waiting list. If you are interested in taking the Instructional Skills Workshop, please visit the CTE events page for future offerings. Our next ISW is scheduled for May 29 / May 31 / June 2, 2017.