Renewed What I Learned in Class Today: Facilitation Guide & Toolkit in Practice  

We are excited to announce the launch of the Renewed What I Learned in Class Today (WILICT): Facilitation Guide & Toolkit! It is designed to support faculty, staff, and students interested in facilitating discussions based on the themes of the WILICT project.  

WILICT is a story-based research project that looks at student experiences in the classroom when Indigenous topics are discussed. The guide and toolkit will help individuals who are interested in learning how to navigate Indigenous topics with care in learning spaces. And crucially, it will help those who are aiming to alleviate the pressure and harm Indigenous students face in the classroom.  

Gratitude for our Project Partners and Supporters  

The WILICT project team acknowledges that this work has been completed on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking Musqueam people. The team is grateful for the ongoing support of the teaching and learning community at UBC, as well as the relationship and guidance we received from Musqueam over the years on the WILICT research project. The involvement and feedback in creating the guide to where it is today has included feedback sessions, demonstrations with various groups, user testing, and those we work closely with in student spaces. We hope that those who participated in this process see their feedback reflected in this iteration of the guide.  

The project would not have been possible without the efforts of the students who dedicated their time to sharing their stories. The creation of this guide is to help learners to not only learn from these stories but to honour and respect them in their own work.  

The Guide and Toolkit in Practice  

As we celebrate publishing the guide, we are also excitedly putting it into practice with our partners within the teaching and learning community. We want to share about our recent facilitation within the iSchool, where a group of faculty members is steadily working towards toward implementing the Indigenous Strategic Plan in their everyday work. Their work has been a balance of navigating personal and professional goals to ensure that their students can critically discuss Indigenous topics and ways of knowing in their courses in safer learning environments.   

In a two-part Professional Development series, Indigenous Initiatives team members Amy Perreault and Hannah Coderre introduced the committee to a Classroom Climate Framework and the Renewed WILICT Facilitation Guide and Toolkit.  

Part one examined the classroom space, including power dynamics, Indigenous student experiences (mainly when Indigenous topics are discussed), positionality, and how broader social realities impact the learning environment. The session included breaking down the Classroom Climate Framework and a demonstration of the WILICT guide. At the end of the session, the group picked one Discussion Module from the guide to be the primary focus for Part Two. The Discussion Module was Holding Indigenous Topics with Care in the Classroom.   

Part two, while centered on the Discussion Module from the guide, was customized to meet the group’s needs. The group identified that peer-to-peer learning and sharing were meaningful – it is not often that the group can be together in person to have the opportunity to share what is working, what is not, and what learning can happen together. Users of the guide can customize the Discussion Modules for their specific contexts. Drawing relevant questions from the guide, we ensured this session had opportunities for self-reflection and created enough space for peer-to-peer sharing.  

During the two-hour in-person session, the group discussed several important themes and insights unique to their situations. Through guided facilitation, the following themes and insights came to light:   

  • Seeing oneself as a learner can be challenging, yet necessary. The group was asked to reflect on themselves as learners and what care means to them in this position. It can often be difficult to do this – sometimes, there have been negative experiences, or it has been a while since being a “student.” Placing oneself in a learner position is vulnerable but a valuable exercise that can allow the educator to begin to break down power dynamics in the classroom.  
  • Starting with strength-based approaches in teaching and learning benefits all learners. Based on learning from WILICT student stories, the group discussed that building community and discussing Indigenous resistance and resurgence are as important as discussing colonialism. Julia Bullard offered the group one example when it comes to difficult topics and assignments. She said she maps options for analyzing colonial or Indigenous-centered systems—noting the context and helping students recognize where they are emotionally to respond to the assignment productively.   
  • Expectation setting in the classroom. The group discussed the role of community guidelines and whose voice guidelines may prioritize; what it means to make the ‘right’ course correction if there is an incident in the room; ensuring safety for students when there are disagreements; and what it looks like to bring care into the classroom even before the course starts (for example, letter writing to students setting the stage, modeling positionality in the syllabus). One shared article and resource was the WILICT article, Anti-Oppressive Learning Environments.   

A final reflection for the facilitators and the group was the importance of peer-to-peer learning opportunities for faculty. A primary theme was the significance of in-person opportunities for faculty to come together, share their experiences and insights, and learn from one another. Often, advancing work on Indigenization and Anti-Racism in post-secondary spaces can feel isolating, so bringing folks doing this work together can at the very least lead to stronger communities and learning opportunities. 

Are You Interested in Using the Facilitation Guide and Toolkit? 

There are unique pathways through the facilitation guide depending on your role at UBC. We encourage learners to explore and find what is most relevant to the discussions they are hoping to facilitate.  

To access the facilitation guide and toolkit please visit the What I Learned in Class Today website to access the Canvas link.  If you have any difficulties gaining access, questions about the guide, or feedback, please reach out to The content in the guide is an iterative process, as such, we may update workshop modules, content, and add new modules, so make sure to revisit the guide over time for updates!