Discussion Topics

In interviews, students discussed issues and situations that they encountered in classrooms that they found particularly problematic. Key themes and issues emerged across interviews that we identified to develop discussion topics. These topics are written specifically as a template for people who would like a framework for conducting discussions of the issues using the materials found in the interview archive. They are not, however, designed as a complete analysis of the archive.

These topics have been designed for a broad range of engagement with project materials. Those who are interested in thinking through issues around classroom climate issues may find these topics to be a useful starting point in their investigations. The materials can also be used to initiate discussions in faculty, departmental, and program meetings of how to address classroom climate issues. Sections of the topics contain materials that have been specifically designed to assist in workshops and meetings dedicated to improving instructor capacity to engage these issues. In their interviews, students identified instructor capacity as being central to their experiences of both effective and ineffective classroom discussions of Aboriginal issues, and the “Workshop Materials” components of the topics are designed with this in mind.

Issues are identified at the beginning of each topic, using quotations from interviews and links to specific segments of interivews that illustrate a particular issue. Links reference interviews which are archived using the Interactive Video Transcript Viewer (IVT) (for more detailed instructions of how to use the IVT, please see “using the IVT“). Each topic is then presented in two major parts: a “Discussion and Analysis” section that provides a reading of an issue or situation, and a “Workshop Materials” section for use in workshops and other meetings, and which can be built on by workshop or meeting facilitators as conversations of the issues move forward. Links to the “Workshop Materials” page for each topic can be found on each topic page. A more detailed description of each section and their components can be found below.

We have included a section titled “downloads“, which contains materials that have been designed to assist facilitators to implement the discussion topics in workshops or meetings. These materials include:

  • A workshop model that can be adapted for different meeting scenarios;
  • A link to instructions for using clips from interviews located in the Interactive Video/Transcript Viewer (IVT), for use in meetings, workshops, or for personal review;
  • A page outlining frequently heard responses to the project and the issues it raises, and ways of addressing these responses.

The topics are not meant to provide definitive analyses the issues, or to prescribe solutions. These are complex and challenging issues, and require sustained and substantial dialogue to develop ways of addressing them at the classroom and institutional level. Different adacemic and administrative units will require different approaches to the issues with respect to their resources and responsibilities. The goal of the topics is to provide a starting point for such discussions.

Discussion Topic Sections

Discussion and Analysis

This section is intended to provide grounding in specific issues and situations drawn from student interviews, and to highlight key points for workshop facilitators to work towards in their sessions with participants. This section is also useful for those who would like to work with project materials on their own, such as researchers and students, since it introduces key issues and themes from interviews and provides some initial analysis to initiate further investigation of the issues. In addition, researchers and others can use this section as a starting point to working more closely with the full interviews archived using the IVT, since quotations and key points are cited using IVT references to encourage closer examination of students’ comments.

Workshop Materials

The Workshop Materials have been designed to assist facilitators to initiate discussions in meetings and with participants to work towards developing strategies for dealing with difficult classroom situations. These materials make specific reference to clips from student interviews in the IVT, so facilitators will need to have access to and be familiar with how to use the IVT in order to work through the discussion questions. See “how to use the IVT” for assistance.

“Workshop Playlist”

The “Workshop Playlist” lists the clips that are used in the workshop materials section. They have been included because they illustrate the key issues or themes of the topic, and can be use in workshops or meetings for this purpose. The numbers that are listed in the playlist are IVT coordinates. The first number refers to an individual interview (called a “session”) and the second number refers to the page number of the transcript of that interview. For example, IVT: 5,44 refers to session 5, page 44. When you enter these numbers into the search box titled “PageNum” in the IVT window, the IVT will play the interview from that point.

“Discussion Questions” and “Questions for Further Discussion”

The discussion questions are intended to invite workshop or meeting participants to unpack situations or issues from students’ interviews, and can be worked through within the timeframe of the workshop. Prior to working through discussion questions with participants, it would be valuable to revisit the clips with participants. Clips are identified by IVT references.

Questions have been broken down into two sections: the first is “Discussion Questions,” which can be used to initiate discussion; the second is “Questions for Further Discussion,” which can form the basis for more in-depth or subsequent discussions of the issues around which the topic has been focused.


The Exercises are intended to give workshop or meeting participants an opportunity to strategize ways of addressing issues and situations that form the basis of each particular topic. Each exercise gets the group to work through issues and develop best practices that they can use in their own workplaces or classrooms. Using these exercises in a workshop gives participants the chance to work with and benefit from the experience and contributions of facilitators and their colleagues in an environment that is dedicated to and supportive of these kinds of investigations.

Discussion Topics

1. Social Position

2. Tokenization

3. Addressing Classroom Incidents Inside the Classroom

4. Improving the Classroom Situation: Thinking Through Potential Strategies

We are working to expand the project, and are interested in feedback to add to and improve this material, as well as suggestions for additional topics. If you would like to provide us with feedback or suggestions, please click here.