Fishing for Learning

Let’s face it, sometimes school can be boring. Do you remember a time when you struggled to stay awake during a boring lecture? If you have,  you understand how students can become restless and bored with conventional teaching methods. At El Paso Leadership Academy (EPLA), we’ve set aside that old mindset for an engaging workshop-oriented teaching model, including an innovative element called Catch and Release. With this innovative approach, our scholars and teachers are empowered to instruct and learn in a manner that provides maximum educational benefits.

The Workshop Learning Model

The workshop learning model provides a proactive learning environment that works for every subject, from reading and history to science and math. The model is workable for all learning levels and teaches empathy and cooperation among students as they engage in self-directed learning. The teacher provides a presence as a subject matter expert and a safety net – he or she can encourage students and provide support when they need it, either individually or within their learning groups.  The workshop learning model is comprised of four elements: opening, mini-lesson, work time and debriefing, explained below.

Opening – The teacher and students share specific learning targets/objectives for the day.

Mini Lesson – The teacher provides a demonstration or brief instruction lesson for the entire class.

Work Time – Students work individually or in small groups to tackle the day’s learning targets. This segment represents the lion’s share of the class time

Debriefing – The class comes together again, shares what they have learned and through an “exit ticket” demonstrate comprehension of the learning objective of the day.

Catch and Release

Catch and Release occurs during the work time portion of the day. When teachers observe students struggling with challenges that frustrate or confuse them, work time is temporarily halted to provide clarity for the entire class. In cases where the teacher anticipates students may struggle, catch and release can be integrated into the work time segment, providing brief planned segments for the entire class.

EPLA employs the workshop education model to provide not an active learning environment, but a representation of how adults tackle work projects in the real world. Our scholars not only learn academics, they gain valuable skills that will enable them to take their places as community leaders. To learn more about EPLA, give us a call today!



Omar Yanar
Founder and CEO, El Paso Leadership Academy