All Great Books professional development helps educators learn, practice, and continuously improve their use of the Shared Inquiry™ method. Our custom coaching consultations give teachers the personalized, specific feedback they need to apply what they have learned from our Shared Inquiry training to become more proficient in inquiry-based teaching skills. You can choose one or multiple in-person or online days when our trainers will consult with your teachers and offer support that is customized to each teacher’s needs.

Our trainers can:

  • Colead Shared Inquiry discussion with your students in your classrooms
  • Demonstrate and model Shared Inquiry discussion with your students
  • Meet with your team of teachers who are using Junior Great Books® and discuss your implementation
  • Provide any additional support you may need

Great Books trainer meeting with a teacher for a custom consultation day

Why Should You Schedule a Custom Consultation?

Denise Ahlquist is the Senior Academic Consultant at the Great Books Foundation. Here are her top five reasons why you should register for a Custom Consultation today!

Denise Ahlquist
  1. Teachers are so done with “one-and-done” professional learning events.

To be effective in supporting changes in student learning, professional learning must be ongoing and aligned with curriculum and other organizational efforts. Single event workshops, no matter how well-designed, are often insufficient to produce desired outcomes when not part of a sustained effort.1 GBF consultation days are a flexible way to ensure there’s time for deeper professional development, since they can be built into a plan as placeholders, then customized to meet teachers’ needs.

  1. Seeing is believing.

Having a master Shared Inquiry leader work with your students is enlightening and inspiring, so it’s no surprise that classroom modeling is the most requested activity for a consultation day. Teachers are able to sense the overall flow of the activity while noticing the techniques the consultant uses to activate student benefits. Stepping back into an observer or coleader role means teachers have more bandwidth for observing individual students’ strengths and needs as well. Then the post-observation conference allows for even more detailed planning of next steps for teachers and student learning.

  1. Differentiating isn’t just for student learning!

Adult learners vary widely in their experiences, aptitudes, and skills. As teachers adopt the Shared Inquiry stance and use Junior Great Books programs with students, they naturally need different types of support and coaching to be successful. Having time to meet individually or in small groups with a Great Books consultant allows teachers to get exactly the support they need as learners.2

  1. No two schools or classrooms are exactly alike either.

Transformative ideas, sound educational theory, and practical strategies can all be shared and learned through training and teacher materials. Applying those tools in actual learning situations is yet another level of change. Research shows that supporting teachers during implementation dramatically increases the effectiveness of new programs.3 GBF consultation activities can be quite different at different schools and classrooms, based on student needs, program goals, and available resources. What they share is a commitment to making Shared Inquiry learning successful in every setting. Developing a customized consultation schedule recognizes diversity while still building a common framework and language for learning across a school or district.

  1. Coaching develops mastery.

With time and practice, teachers become more comfortable with Shared Inquiry, often extending it beyond Junior Great Books programs and across the curriculum. Mastery of higher-level questioning and facilitation of inquiry learning means more than just knowing the basics of the approach, however. Fidelity to best practices is important too. Everyone naturally has strengths and weaknesses, and classroom coaching allows the consultant to observe a teacher or group in action and offer specific, detailed feedback. Coaching may also involve GBF consultants participating in curriculum planning or the creation of additional Shared Inquiry experiences.

Discuss Consultation Days with Your Partnership Manager!

Have a chat with your Great Books partnership manager to discuss the number and type of consultation days you need to continue to improve your Junior Great Books implementation. We will tailor an experience that best fits the needs of your educational setting.


  • Lisa Scherff. “Distinguishing Professional Learning from Professional Development.” REL Pacific, January 4, 2018.
  • Teri Laliberte. “How Great Books Professional Development Aligns with Knowles’s Knowledge.” Great Books Connections, February 23, 2023.
  • “Stages of Concern: Concerns-Based Adoption Model.” SEDL, Austin, TX.