Teaching for Inclusion Workshop Series


Online: Wednesday, December 8 from 11:00am to 12:30pm

Indigeneity in the Academy: Teaching and Learning at the Cultural Interface

Speaker: Dr. Candace Brunette-Debassige (Assistant Professor, Education and Teaching Fellow, Indigenous Learning)

Against the backdrop of growing calls to Indigenize the academy, Indigenous students and curricula are on the rise in many Canadian universities—and they are bringing with them unique experiences and epistemologies. Given that the academy is a Westernized space with deep ties to European lands, languages, and ways of knowing that have systemically marginalized Indigenous peoples and knowledges, the rise we are seeing in Indigenization inevitably surfaces a certain amount of tension among those who teach at the “cultural interface”—in the space where "many shifting and complex intersections between different people with different histories, experiences, languages, agendas, aspirations and responses” converge and diverge (Nakata, 2007, p. 199). The cultural interface can become a kind of fault line between the contested grounds of Western and Indigenous knowledges and experiences. Indigeneity in the Academy: Teaching and Learning at the Cultural Interface will introduce participants to the colonial context of the Westernized academy and curriculum; survey the systemic and often compounded barriers that many Indigenous students face when attending university; and seek to understand and anticipate some of the epistemological and intercultural tensions and challenges that can surface in university classrooms.

Series Information


At a time when equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization (EDI-D) are being increasingly recognized as important to creating positive learning environments for all students (and all faculty), it seems important to ask what it means to “teach for inclusion.” As faculty, we may not even know if students in our classes are feeling excluded – from our own class discussions, perhaps, but also in terms of a larger sense of not “belonging” at university.

In this series of workshops, we will look at particular groups that might fall under the broad label of “equity deserving.” Topics will include such things as teaching Indigenous students and including Indigenous materials and perspectives in the classroom, teaching trans and non-binary students and including trans and non-binary materials and perspectives (rather than getting stuck on the pronoun issue), teaching differently abled students and including (dis)ability issues and perspectives in the classroom, teaching Black students and including Black issues and perspective in the classroom… While we have opted to organize the workshops topic by topic, we are also committed in every workshop to also recognizing how intersectionality influences experiences of inclusion and exclusion.

What to Expect

Each workshop will be scheduled for 90 minutes to give time for a presentation and robust discussion. In some cases, workshops may include hands-on exercises and other demonstrations of techniques, starting from the foundational question of how one creates an inclusive curriculum in a given topic.


Registration Instructions

  1. Login to Western Connect using your Western username and password.
  2. Go to the Centre for Teaching and Learning section. Select Event Calendar and select the session you wish to register in. Details and a description of the program will appear.
  3. Select the Register for this Event button. If the event has reached capacity, you may have the option to register on the waitlist.
  4. You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account. 


This event is open to all; however, it is designed with instructors in mind.

Previous Series


Teaching for Inclusion: Trans and Non-Binary

Oct 28, 2021

Speaker: Dr. WG Pearson (Chair and Associate Professor - Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies)

Increasingly, faculty members are seeing students coming into their classrooms who identify as trans or non-binary (or both). Faculty may discover this when a student requests a specific pronoun, such as “they,” or when a student discloses that their official university account is still using their “deadname” (name prior to transition) and requests that it not be used in the classroom. The issue of the student’s identity may come up in relation to course content and materials as well, even if it does so only in terms of the student being faced with course material that presupposes two sexes and binary genders.

How do we create classroom experiences that are welcoming for these students? It takes a little knowledge and a bit of practice. For starters, it is helpful to understand the terminology, particularly as some older terminology (like “transsexual”) is considered inappropriate by some trans people. This is something we will cover at the beginning of the workshop, along with advice about pronoun use (if and how to ask about pronouns). But there is much more to it than that, including recognizing opportunities in the curriculum to include trans and non-binary voices and ensuring that the trans and non-binary perspectives among students are heard and respected.