Harvard Ed Portal

When: February 22, 2020
Where: Harvard Ed Portal, 224 Western Ave., Allston, MA
Institution: Harvard Ed Portal
Facilitators: Suzanne Paszkowski, and Emilia Pfannl



On Saturday, February 22, 2020, Suzanne Paszkowski and Emilia Pfannl facilitated a Pre-Texts workshop with 25 Harvard undergraduate students at the Harvard Ed Portal. The students who attended the workshop provide one-on-one and small group after-school mentoring to students from Allston-Brighton schools and will be incorporating Pre-Texts activities into their work this semester. During the 3-hour workshop, they read and responded to a text, made art, and reflected on and discussed the implementation of the practices in the mentoring space with their students. 


In true Pre-Texts style, the workshop began with the creation of beautiful and colorful cartonera style cardboard book covers while listening to an excerpt from the text The Intertwining–The Chiasm by Maurice Merleau Ponty read by a volunteer reader. We then asked questions of the text (ranging from questions on the language, the content, the intent and more) and hung them on the clothesline. We answered other people’s questions and added the responses to the clothesline and discussed them together.

Next, we delved deeper into the text through a fun round of charades, miming parts of the text in groups while others read closely to find the lines being brought to life. Building on the Pre-Texts protocol, the participants then became the facilitators and designed their own lessons and proposed activities to do with the group. As always, the activities ended with a reflection to the question, ‘what did we do?’ where it was important for each person in the circle to speak once before speaking for a second time.

Towards the end of the workshop, participants reflected on what we had done and brainstormed how they would incorporate Pre-Texts into their mentoring activities with students.