How Pre-Texts Works

In 5 hands-on workshops that last 3 hours each, Cultural Agents trains one school at a time in groups of 20-25 educators including the principal. A core text in any discipline, no matter how challenging or apparently boring, becomes the excuse for making art in the range of practices that participants prefer. After a creative session – that interprets something in the text through dance, drawing, costumes, riddles, etc. -- everyone reflects on the process. “What did we do?” The combination of creative interpretation and reflection produces high levels of cognitive and emotional development, all the while using recycled materials and local practices. Rather than discuss respect, empowerment, and self-authorization, Pre-Texts performs these values as iterative form rather than static content. Pre-Texts can reach anyone, whatever their educational or socioeconomic background, because we begin by reading aloud and asking questions of the text. Through the fun of manipulating material -- including written material – Pre-Texts achieves holistic education.

  • Develop critical thinking.

  • Encourage critical and cognitive skills in relation to verbal reasoning, in both oral and written form.

  • Improve reading and writing skills.

  • Understand and establish dialogues with complex texts across diverse subjects.

  • Promote an education that intersects civic and academic matters.

  • Stimulate the ability to innovate.

What about training?

1. Training workshops

Term: 1 week

In five sessions, 25 participants are trained to use difficult texts as starting points for creativity and for reflection on the process of creative interpretation. The training lasts 15 hours (5 sessions of 3 hours) during which participants take turns as new facilitators. In the last session, participants bring personalized plans for implementing Pre-Texts, and “weavers” are chosen to coordinate the follow-up months.

A Certificate of Participation is granted at the end of the series.

2. Follow up

Term: Approx. 3 months

  • Through the Pre-Texts online platform, new facilitators submit evidence of 15 hours of successful implementation.
  • Weavers convene weekly meetings among new facilitators.
3. Certification

Term: 2 weeks

Certification for teachers who:

  • Demonstrated 15 hours of successful implementation.
  • Attended the weekly weaver meetings.
  • Submitted evaluation data to the online platform.
  • Optional: Plan to replicate training workshops with new facilitators.

Our reach

Through art-making workshops, our approach trains teachers, artist, and educators as facilitators for creative explorations of challenging texts. We host training workshops at Harvard University, schools, community centers, art spaces, and internationally.

Our extended team of Directors, Capacity Builders, and Facilitators are integral to the support and expansion of Pre-Texts. Their dedication, range of experiences, creativity, and passion for improving education practices continue to broaden and improve Pre-Texts as an effective approach to teaching.

If you are interested in a workshop, email