Congratulations to our new ISW Facilitators and Trainers!

The FDW is part of the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) multi-step model, an internationally certified program designed to increase teaching effectiveness and encourage reflection on teaching practice. Jens Vent-Schmidt, experienced ISW Facilitator and FDW Trainer and member of the CTLT team, led the training in collaboration with Electra Eleftheriadou and Barbara Komlos, CTL Educational Consultants and ISW Facilitators, who through the process earned their Trainer Certification. Congratulations!

The CTL would like to congratulate all the new ISW Facilitators who completed the workshop: Richard Aleong (Engineering), Jessica Bayer (CTL), Robin Young (Biology), and Tareq Yousef (Psychology)! The CTL is excited to be increasing the number of ISW Facilitators across campus to explore the expansion of ISW workshop offerings specific to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty. Certified facilitators are essential for conducting ISW workshops, including providing guidance for participants to critically reflect on their teaching practices and offer effective feedback to their peers.

Jessica Bayer shares her reflections on the workshop…

Participating in the Facilitators Development Workshop (FDW) was an experience that blended deep learning with memorable moments and camaraderie. The workshop’s structure allowed us to engage with new pedagogical techniques and facilitation strategies, pushing us out of our comfort zones and into a space of genuine growth.  The challenges we faced, whether in collaborative activities or during thought-provoking discussions, shaped our skills as ISW facilitators and educators.

The most meaningful aspect of the FDW was the relationships we created and strengthened throughout the process. Stemming from community agreement building, our sacred space was moulded by 40+ hours of shared time, professional insights, personal stories, and plaguing questions.  The bonds we formed will undoubtedly extend beyond the workshop, as we continue to support each other’s growth and collaborate on future endeavors. I know I will be cheering all of you on from the sidelines in everything you do!

One of the meaningful takeaways for me stemmed from feedback. The exercise of providing thoughtful and supportive feedback is typically tricky. We spoke on the first day about “niceness” and what good feedback sounds like, what its purpose is, and affirmed our commitment to provide it. During our last feedback session on our last day, I had the realization that educators, regardless of specific role or discipline, are not often thanked for their work, the impact of their efforts often goes unacknowledged. Educators persist despite feelings of defeat, uncertainty, exhaustion, confusion, or all of the above! Many of us aren’t doing this for gratitude or appreciation anyway, we do it to make a difference.

So, when the end of the week arrived and we each were allowed to share our feedback, I watched and noticed the difference it made. The moments of sincere gratitude, admiration, and kindness had a profound impact. I hope that the kind words of others continue to rattle around in our heads and we are reminded of our strengths; humour, vulnerability, clarity, kindness, humility, precision, creativity, and many more. With confidence and deep gratitude, I can sincerely say that each person I got to spend this week with, makes a difference and they made a difference to me.

The photo above shows all of us on our last day, feeling excited and likely tired from a busy week! The whiteboard beside shows a quote that perfectly summarizes this shared experience “What you’ve found here may not have been what you were looking for. It was more.”

We present “Turtle”, who started as a prop for a lesson on turtle rescue and safe handling, and quickly became a class pet, collaborative art project, and esteemed colleague!

With gratitude,

Jessica Bayer, Educational Consultant for Indigenous Initiatives

If you are already an ISW Facilitator and would like to collaborate with the CTL, please reach out to

If you are interested in participating in an ISW, please visit our Events page for upcoming opportunities.