Our curricula are research-based, grounded in best practices, and support not only content learning but also behavioral, classroom climate, and social-emotional learning goals.

Since 1984, our discussion curricula and programs have fostered understanding, leadership, and community in schools worldwide. We believe that all students come to the classroom with strengths. By sharing and examining their ideas through an authentic learning process like Touchstones, students move beyond traditional classroom discussion to better understanding each other, engaging in collaborative discussion, and developing leadership skills.


We partner with public, public charter, independent, international, and religious schools, as well as homeschool co-ops, around the world. Whether schools use Touchstones as part of regular instruction in the content areas or use it as a for remediation and extension in gifted and talented programs, counseling programs, and afterschool enrichment programs, Touchstones builds community, collaboration, and a positive school climate.


Our higher ed partners include public and private colleges and universities, community colleges, and graduate schools of education. Touchstones programs can support course content and can also be used to support students in bridge programs for freshmen and for students who arrive at college in non-traditional ways.


We partner with out-of-school time providers to bring the benefits of Touchstones for children, school staff members, family engagement programs, counseling programs, and community programs.

What are schools saying about Touchstones?


It was really exciting to me to watch the evolution of [my students’] thinking and then their ability to listen to one another and change their opinions…you begin to see the students develop a new respect for one another in terms of the kinds of comments and observations there able to make.”

Joy Corey

Teacher, Chesapeake Academy, MD

I have absolutely loved teaching Touchstones this year. I have watched my students grow into expert conversationalists over the last several months. I was amazed recently when I had them discuss a piece that was not in our textbook and they were able to apply the Touchstones guidelines, make connections, and respectfully disagree with each other while using supporting arguments. It was awesome!”

R. Salmonsson

Teacher, Two Roads Charter School School, CO

“I appreciate the diversity of [Touchstones’] materials. [They] offer authentic stories as a springboard for class discussion

B. Gaye

Teacher, Canyon Ridge Elementary, San Antonio, TX

“In my twenty years as an educator serving both urban and rural students, I have encountered no program that more explicitly positions students at the core of teaching and learning than Touchstones. “

M. Hodnicki

Principal, Paul Robeson Elementary School, Trenton, NJ

What does it mean to go #BeyondtheSocraticSeminar?

Although the Touchstones method shares some common elements with Socratic seminars, in Touchstones, discussion skills are prioritized to provide a foundation for exploring content in class; these skills are explicitly taught and systematically strengthened over time. The primary goal of Touchstones is to build the skills necessary for teachers and students to take part in inclusive discussions, in any context, driven by participants themselves. We focus on process because we believe strong discussion skills are a prerequisite for all other forms of collaboration.