At every Vermont College residency, all students are assigned to a workshop group led by 2 faculty members. This time my leaders are Leda Schubert and Jane Kurtz. They've done a great job of guiding discussion and finding the strengths and weaknesses in each student's work.
But we don't use the word "weakness." Instead we ask "questions" about the work. Sometimes the questions are literally questions, like "Why is the mother so calm?" Other times they're comments, like "I couldn't visualize the layout of the backyard." These are some of the things my fellow workshopees said about the piece I submitted, a middle grade fantasy novel. Overall the feedback was helpful. Once I get back to that novel, I'll have a good way to get going on the revision.
One thing that I particularly appreciated about the leaders this time is that they both are conversant with fantasy conventions. Leda and Jane and the students who were particularly familiar with fantasy were also able to point out some problem areas that were specific to fantasy, so that was especially helpful.
We have a pretty good range of material to critique, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, and YA novels.
The students in this workshop all speak up. There's no one dominating voice. Leda and Jane take turns leading the discussion versus keeping notes about it. It's been one of the best workshops I've had here.