Workshop 10 is an interdisciplinary course in which 40 – 45 Lowers (10th-graders) take English, history, philosophy and religious studies as a cohort. They share the same three instructors and explore common themes and questions across the courses through experiential learning.


Through on and off campus learning that makes cross-disciplinary questions relatable to students, Workshop 10 fosters deep learning among Phillips Academy lowers. The Workshop 10 structure enables students to take the course during three back-to-back class periods before their lunch period. The longer course period allows for extended time devoted to the course’s scope and sequence. The Workshop also prepares students for the kind of cross-disciplinary thinking necessary in the upper years and college. More time, and deep learning through experiential opportunities, help create meaning, motivation, and wellbeing for students in Workshop 10.

I feel like this is a really underrated opportunity to learn about humanities like rel-phil, history, English, and then see how it could all be intertwined together.

—Workshop 10 student


Workshop 10 requires a different set of teaching skills and is an unfamiliar method of instruction for most Lowers at Phillips Academy.

Takeaways & Best Practices

  • By combining disciplines, students are prepared earlier in their PA careers for thinking and learning that is necessary in college and beyond. The fast-paced nature of modern industries require a workforce that can make connections, adapt, and learn across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Students report that the time spent on field trips makes learning more relevant and fun. By embedding joy into learning, deep meaning can help increase knowledge retention.
  • Students from Workshop 10 are more prepared to engage in the work required in The Workshop because they are asked to think beyond and between academic disciplines. The preparation will help students hit the ground running if/​when they enroll in The Workshop.

Bottom Line

Students are able to engage in cross-disciplinary study through experiential learning that helps long-term retention of knowledge. Workshop 10 teachers help students acclimate to the new mode of instruction by designing experiences that connect the dots between disciplines and make topics meaningful to teenagers.

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