Harvard Graduate School of Education

When: February 26, 2019, 6-8pm
Where: Cambridge, MA, USA
Facilitator: Doris Sommer


The Pre-Texts workshop on February 26, 2019 at the Harvard Graduate School of Education brought together over twenty policy students, teachers, and curators to see how Pre-Texts can be used to help students delve into difficult material. 


The text used was “Dermatologist-level classification of skin cancer with deep neural networks” and participants with little background knowledge in this field made book covers on the theme while listening to the text being read aloud. They later picked out and created theater pieces based on literary figures within the text, which the audience had to guess. 


Participants found the workshop meaningful, with one discussing how the material can be brought to a summer camp he helps run. Another was excited about the prospect of using Pre-Texts in a museum where she is a curator. 


The workshop showed how participants can use a dense medical text, and still discover and delve deep into a process of collaborative learning and creation.


This 2-hour session on Pre-Texts at the Harvard Graduate School of Education was facilitated by Prof. Doris Sommer, Faculty-Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative, and sponsored by the HGSE FEELS organization that focuses on socio-emotional learning. Participants explored how artistic and creative thinking can help students tackle difficult texts, and through this, look at challenges facing their lives and communities in new ways and take constructive action to help solve them.