Establishing a Student-Staffed & 
Managed Learning Center Workshop
October 14-15, 2023
International School of Tianjin
Student - $50 USD
Teachers - $100 USD
CAPACITY:  60 attendees

(Discount code provided after workshop payment)


REGISTer here


Learn how a simple idea can grow organically and exponentially into a movement that promotes a literacy-rich culture that elevates student agency.

In this two-day workshop, participants learn the nuts-and-bolts of how to establish a successful student-staffed and managed learning center. This workshop builds on the success of the International School of Tianjin’s Literacy Lab, a 9-year tested and proven model for a student-staffed and managed learning center that supports the acquisition of literacy skills. Using a simple philosophy rooted in discussion-based learning practices and supported by a sustainable organizational structure, the Literacy Lab was able to transform a small, teacher-driven writing center into a fully developed student-staffed and managed learning center that provides support for students in reading, writing, notetaking, presenting and discussing. The Literacy Lab is staffed by over 90 student volunteers—coaches, managers, and a supervisor. The lab provides support for students in grades 5-12 during lunch and after school and records over 800 visits a year from students seeking academic support—nearly four times the number of students currently enrolled in the school’s secondary division.

The model that has allowed the Literacy Lab to achieve this level of success is rooted in inquiry and discussion-based practices that promote respectful, authentic and often mutually beneficial dialogue. When engaging in a workshop, student volunteers do not act as tutors or give advice to students seeking academic support. Instead, volunteers act as coaches and engage in a conversation using specific strategies to help guide students to think critically about their work and develop creative solutions to their own unique challenges. This model not only reinforces essential approaches to learning, but it ultimately empowers students by creating the opportunity for them to take responsibility for their own learning and by acknowledging their innate ability to do so through meaningful dialogue. These are valuable life skills and strategies that will benefit them throughout their schooling and beyond. This two- day workshop is designed for teachers and students. Over the course of the workshop, participants learn strategies and receive practical tools that will enable them to establish an effective learning center in their school.



Student Leaders (Grades 6-12), Teachers, Librarians, Service Coordinators, Curriculum Coordinators.


Over the course of the workshop, participants learn and practice key strategies and receive practical tools that will enable them to establish an effective learning center in their school. By the end of the workshop, participants will understand how to:

  • Create a simple guiding philosophy that promotes inclusion and involvement while ensuring sustainability
  • Provide support in a guided workshop or coaching workshop
  • Assess the readiness level of students seeking support
  • Employ 10 different feedback strategies to facilitate a group of students
  • Use cognitive coaching strategies to work with students one-on-one
  • Address concerns related to editing student work
  • Embed the center’s strategies in classroom practices
  • Create tiered levels of involvement that create authentic, real-world leadership opportunities for students
  • Recruit student coaches and managers and select a student-supervisor
  • Manage day to day operations
  • Encourage teachers to actively support the center
  • Promote the center’s services to the community—especially parents
  • Manage change sustainably in order to accommodate shifts in student population and teaching staff
  • Tackle myths about student agency, student-driven learning and literacy instruction that can sometimes
  • prevent students (and teachers) from getting involved
  • Track the number of visits and quality of support


This workshop will be led by the teacher responsible for developing the program the Literacy Lab uses along with student managers and coaches.


REGISTer here

For inquiries, please contact Joe Schaaf at


If notice of cancellation re the registered participant/sponsor is received:

  • 30+ days pre-event: 80% of fee is refundable
  • 15-29 days pre-event: 40% of fee is refundable
  • Less than 15 days pre-event: no refund

Online PD Programs - No refund will be granted re participants commencing an online PD program and withdrawing part way through. Course material fees (re DiSC surveys, book fees, etc) are not refundable once access is granted.



In the event of cancellation of a conference, workshop or online PD program, we will fully refund the registration or sponsorship fee(s) paid. However, we will be unable to refund any travel, visa or accommodation expenses incurred or course material fees where access has been granted.