Classroom Climate Series


See the Classroom Climate wiki page at:

The Classroom Climate Series is a year-long program where faculty, teaching assistants, researchers, graduate students, and staff from all over the University have the opportunity to challenge their own assumptions about what they have learned about Aboriginal people, become more critically aware of their teaching and research practices, and learn more about how they engage with topics that challenge their own social location within the institution.

Here: Valuing, Recognizing and Acknowledging Place, October 2, 2012

The breadth of participants’ experiences, locations, and roles within the University create a unique environment for the exchange of interdisciplinary approaches to teaching, and an opportunity to engage with and share experiences from a diverse range of perspectives.

This strategically-designed series creates a unique learning experience for participants by combining a series of mini-class lectures, interactive group activities, and one-on-one discussions with a strong focus on activities and discussions designed to evoke critical thinking and self awareness. As a result, participants gain skills to create a more clearly developed and informed approach to understanding and teaching about Aboriginal and other socially contentious issues in a curricular setting.

We highly encourage you to participate as part of your professional development!



Poster drawing made during the session Bridging the Knowledge Gap: Indigenous Foundations, October 16, 2012

The development of academic and professional programming in the area of classroom climate is relatively new and unexplored. Indigenous Initiatives at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology responded by creating an innovative professional development series called Indigenous Initiatives: Classroom Climate.

During the initial development of this series, Amy Perreault, Strategist for Indigenous Initiatives, combined her research expertise with her direct experience creating projects such as What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom.

The development of this series mirrored a process often taken on by faculty who teach about Indigenous and other socially contentious issues in their classes. In some ways the inevitable challenges faculty face in this endeavor were present here too; creating an approach that would allow for a diverse group of people, all coming with different levels of understanding and experiences, to come together and create a community.


Impact on Presenters and Participants

The diversity of experiences, both of the participants and the series presenters, has been cited as being one of the key strengths of this program. Past participants and presenters also noted that they appreciated the honesty and integrity of the conversations in each session, where facilitators were “walking the walk” by demonstrating how they pedagogically built in how to have difficult conversations in their classes.

Here’s what some of them had to say:


"The nuanced nature of working with Aboriginal people and issues is often difficult to address in a substantive way. I was impressed with the preparation, level of participation and feedback from participants. It opened a space to further our work and it is a model for future discourse on these issues."

- Rick Ouellet, Aboriginal Student and Community Development Officer (series presenter)


"I believe that fostering productive conversations amongst faculty makes us better able to foster productive conversations in our classrooms with our students. It gives us important background knowledge, confidence in the language and terminology, practices to address sensitive topics, and pedagogical strategies. It gives us a sense, too, that we are not alone: other people in other classrooms are raising similar issues in different disciplinary contexts. One of the main things I have taken away from these sessions is the sense that yes, discussing Aboriginal issues in the classroom can be sensitive and highly charged, but if we do not give our students the space, time, and skills to discuss them there, then when will they have the opportunity? If not here, where?"

- Kathryn Grafton, Coordinated Arts Program Co-Chair, Department of English Instructor (faculty participant)


"While the focus of the series was the setting of the classroom, through discussions we discovered that the setting includes other spaces on campus. Libraries in particular became a space where the discussions turned as an example of what happens outside of the classroom. I think that it was an excellent opportunity for librarians to engage with faculty in a way that highlights the instruction on the reference desk, and how we face similar challenges with questions related to Aboriginal issues."

- Sarah Dupont, Aboriginal Engagement Librarian, Xwi7xwa Library (staff participant)


Featured Articles

See more articles on Aboriginal Initiatives at:

Musqueam Artist Shares Research, Cultural Practices, and Oral Histories

Musqueam community member and artist Morgan Guerin shared and discussed Musqueam culture, history, and his contribution to the exhibit cəsnaʔəm, the city before the city.

Exploring the City Before the City

Susan Rowley and Jordan Wilson discuss the new exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology: ćǝsnaɁǝm, the city before the city. The exhibit aims to bring awareness to the deep-seated and often neglected Musqueam history beneath Vancouver.


unceded. was on display in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from Jan.18-Feb.25, 2015. Find out more about this exhibit and visit the online archive.

Uncovering Indigenous Stories at this “Place of Mind”

Sarah Ling, Hanae Tsukada, Amy Perreault, and Drew Ann Wake share new digital resources that highlight UBC’s relationships with Indigenous peoples. Learn more about these teaching and learning tools.

A Landless Territory: How Do We Articulate Cyberspace Within the Discourse of Indigenous Studies?

David Gaertner discusses the importance of Indigenous new media and provides local examples.

More Than Content: Working Critically with Fear, Guilt, Privilege, and other "Hidden" Issues

Amy Perreault and Natalie Baloy discuss classroom climates that facilitate productive forms of affective learning.

Facilitator Spotlight: Natalie Baloy

Natalie Baloy discusses her involvement in the CTLT Aboriginal Initiatives Classroom Climate series.

Learning About the Social Complexity Behind Aboriginal Student Data

Hanae Tsukada writes about her learning experience and illustrates the complexities behind Aboriginal student data.

More Than Content: Working Critically with Fear, Guilt, Privilege, and other "Hidden" Issues

Dr. Coll Thrush and Natalie Baloy discuss classroom conversations that are often fraught with a range of emotions.

Faculty Spotlight: Daniel Heath Justice and Lisa Nathan

Dr. Daniel Heath Justice and Dr. Lisa Nathan discuss their involvement in the Classroom Climate series.