Sample Workshop Design
We know that adults are goal-oriented. They appreciate a program that is organized with clearly defined elements. Adults are also relevancy-oriented. They need to feel that a workshop will be applicable to their work.
First impressions are important in that they set the tone for what is to follow. A week or so prior to the workshop, we would ask you to send each participant a note we would supply introducing ourselves, sharing expectations, and assigning an activity that would be used in the workshop and give a taste of what they could expect.
Good professional development practice suggests having participants actively engaged as soon as possible, and as much as possible. So, after the usual opening business, we would regularly actively involve participants in the process.
The theoretical underpinnings and other important aspects of mentoring will come into play on a need-to-know basis. Therefore, we relate such issues to the activity of the moment rather than overwhelming folks with handouts up front. For this purpose, we regularly refer participants to relevant material in my book, “Mentoring New Teachers, 3rd edition, published by Corwin Press. Please order a copy for each participant. As well as being the text for the workshop, the book will serve as an invaluable “how-to” resource in the field.
During the workshop, we would model good mentoring practice and its application through demonstration. Modeling and demonstration enhances understanding.
However, the difference between observing how something should be done and being able to do it is the quantum leap in learning. The springboard for that leap is guided practice accompanied by feedback that gives the learner information about what is correct, what needs to be improved, and how to improve performance. Therefore, we devote a significant portion of the workshop to practicing.
At the end of the session, we check for understanding by responding to a list of expectations, questions, and concerns that we had elicited from participants at the start of and during the session.