ISW Related Skills Workshops

Presentation Skills Workshop (PSW)
Leading Discussions Workshop (LDW)
Narrative Skills Workshop (NSW)

Presentation Skills Workshop (PSW)

This two-day interactive workshop enables participants to increase their confidence and try new approaches in any presentation setting. The Presentation Skills Workshop (PSW) is designed for participants who expect to present their research at conferences, or within their academic or organizational departments; participants might also consider taking the PSW if they are preparing to defend a thesis or dissertation, or if taking part in job interviews.Participants in a PSW benefit from practicing skills and sharing ideas in a cooperative, supportive environment. In this workshop, participants work closely with peers and trained facilitators. They have a chance to begin to develop their presentation skills, to enhance existing skills, and/or to try new and challenging ideas. The workshop consists of planning and organizing a presentation and various topical sessions, including, for example,asking and answering questions.

During the workshop participants deliver 2 short presentations and receive constructive feedback from their peers and the facilitator. They also give one or more impromptu presentations following instruction on structuring and preparing for extemporaneous speaking.

Following completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Plan and organize an effective presentation
  2. Explain elements that contribute to effective presentation delivery
  3. Efficiently structure a short presentation with a limited amount of time

The Handbook for the Presentation Skills Workshop is currently being updated. Once the update is completed, this Handbook will also be available to ISW facilitators through this website.

If you are interested in finding out more about Presentation Skills Workshops, and how they are offered at various institutions, please contact: To talk to someone who is currently offering PSWs contact: Gillian Gerhard For other information around offering PSWs contact: Janice Johnson Kay Weiss

Leading Discussions Workshop (LDW)

A good discussion creates "teachable moments" because it provides learners with an opportunity to practice critical thinking and interpretative skills. The Leading Discussions Workshop (LDW) is a one-and-half-day workshop where participants work closely with peers and trained facilitators to learn how to get the most out of their discussions. Through practice and sharing ideas in a cooperative environment, participants gain organizational skills and techniques to keep a discussion active.

During the workshop, participants plan, organize and lead a discussion with a partner and receive constructive feedback from their peers and the facilitator. By the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  1. Apply collaborative strategies that help create a safe and encouraging discussion group environment.
  2. Consider a variety of techniques they can use to structure the discussion process and to motivate learners to participate.
  3. Apply solutions for challenges that arise when leading a discussion.
  4. Develop their skills as a discussion leader through planning and leading a group discussion.

At this point, we do not have a Handbook available for the Leading Discussions Workshop. The Leading Discussions Workshop is not currently offered.

Narrative Skills Workshops (NSW)

This workshop, developed by Glynis Wilson Boultbee and Cheryl King, evolved as an extension of the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW). It began as the germ of an idea that emerged at the 1999 Spring Facilitator Development Institute in Naramata, British Columbia when a story teller was invited to speak with participants about the techniques of story telling. The workshop was developed using a number of ISW processes and was piloted in 2001. Since then it has been introduced in colleges and universities from Quebec to British Columbia.

The use of narrative in the teaching/learning process makes sense at many levels. What we are beginning to know and understand about the brain and memory certainly supports the use of narrative. It also has real appeal for instructors who are looking to expand their repertoire in the classroom and beyond. And given the increasing use of technology in our institutions, it is useful that narrative can be incorporated into technology-based learning situations in interesting ways.

By the end of the NSW, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain why story telling and narrative significantly enhance learning and retention;
  2. Explain why story telling and narrative address so many diverse learning styles;
  3. Use a model for planning narrative learning activities;
  4. Identify new and creative tools and strategies for teaching;
  5. Develop confidence and competence in telling stories for instructional purposes;
  6. Encourage their students to tell stories that support learning;
  7. Examine their own responses to the use of narrative as a tool for learning.

If you are interested in holding an NSW or in training facilitators at your campus to facilitate the NSW, please contact:


Glynis Wilson Boultbee
Cheryl King