Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW)


The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) is a three-day intensive program designed to strengthen instructors' skills in student-centred teaching through evidence-based, practical opportunities for teaching practice. Mixing small and large peer group interaction, the workshop is designed to build skills and confidence as well as enabling participants to learn from and foster partnerships with colleagues from other disciplines. Participants successfully completing the entire three-day program will receive a certificate of completion that is internationally recognized.


By the end of the ISW, successful participants will be able to:

  • design well-organized lessons
  • employ active learning strategies that align with learning outcomes
  • apply classroom assessment techniques
  • provide constructive feedback
  • critically reflect on their own teaching

What to expect

The workshop is a three-day intensive program that runs from 8:30a.m. to 4:30p.m. daily. Homework each night consists of the preparation of a 10-minute lesson, to be taught the following day. Please clear your schedule for the duration of the 3 days.

Guide to Preparing Your Lesson

BOPPPS is an acronym for the components of a lesson:

B - Bridge How students can be “hooked” into the lesson.
O - Learning Outcomes What students will be able to do, know, or value by the end of the lesson.
P - Pre-assessment What do students already know about the topic? The pre-assessment is used to strengthen instruction and cater it to the level of your students. It also helps them connect to and build on what they already know.
P - Participation How will students be active in their learning? In this component, instructors facilitate active learning activities to involve students in their own learning. This component varies widely based on the size and type of class, but can involve reflective exercises, role plays, clicker activities, and games. See also: Active Learning
P - Post assessment How can we assess the learning that has taken place? You have written and shared outcomes with your students - post-assessment is the opportunity to assess whether students have achieved these outcomes. Post-assessment could inform your teaching in later classes or it could help inform students about areas of strength and weakness (e.g., self-assessment).
S - Summary Often forgotten, but very important, the summary ties together the learning that has taken place and provides some relevance. It also may foreshadow future learning activities.

Research on the impact of the ISW

Program Information

Upcoming Sessions

To be determined


Typically offered once per year in February or December.


New and/or experienced instructors, librarians, and archivists from all disciplinary backgrounds.


Registration and deposit instructions

  1. Login to Western Connect using your Western username and password. 
  2. Go to the Event Calendars section and select the Centre for Teaching and Learning calendar, then select the program you wish to register in. Details and a description of the program will appear.
  3. Search for and select the event you wish to register in. Details and a description of the program will appear. Select the Register for this Event button.
  4. You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account.
  5. A $50.00 refundable deposit (cash or cheque only) to the CTL is required to complete your registration and hold your spot in the workshop. The CTL is typically open Monday – Friday, 8:30a.m. – 4:00p.m. If you are submitting a cheque, please make it payable to Western University. The deposit will be returned to all those who complete the workshop, or to those who cancel five business days in advance of the workshop.
  6. If the event has reached capacity, you may have the option to register on the waitlist.

Spaces in this program are limited.

If you have any questions or problems registering for an event, please consult our FAQs or contact

Prerequisites / Recommended Preparation

Participants are required to prepare a ten minute lesson for each day of the workshop, including one in advance of the first day.


The Teaching at the University Level course (offered in August) is a 4-day version of the ISW.  We do not recommend registering for an ISW if you have participated in the Teaching at the University Level course within the past 5 years.

Completion Requirements

To receive the certificate of completion, faculty must participate in the full three-day program (8 hours each day), complete all three lesson presentations, and provide thoughtful feedback to peers in their group. 

Applies to following certificates

Faculty Certificate in Teaching Excellence

You may also be interested in these programs:

Testimonials from ISW participants:

“I didn’t realize how many little techniques we can use to get people involved, and certainly we got a list of all the activities we can do... something as simple as that think, pair, share. I probably didn’t even use until I took the workshop, and I use that in my class all the time now.”

“The feedback that you guys gave me as a storyteller. I didn’t know I was a storyteller. I had no idea… so I’m doing more of that, I’m doing more story lead-ins and they’re powerful, they really are… So the thing is, is that the feedback was empowering.”

“…I became more student-centred…today we had a really good discussion but we just covered one-fifth of what I thought we would cover – I found that when it's more student-centred, then we go for the quality rather than quantity, but when it's more teacher-centred, it's quantity maybe over quality… “

“I need to do some thinking in terms of what being a teacher means and the whole value portion of that. And, I hadn’t really thought about that before the course.”