Teaching for Transformation

Annual Conference+

Session Descriptions

Session Types

Descriptions of each session are being added below. The TforT:AC+ conference sessions take on a variety of formats:

  • Nominated Emerging Works (NEW) talks
  • Keynote Facilitated Sessions
  • Open Dialogue
  • Roundtable
  • Short Talks (submitted abstracts)
  • Virtual Coffee Breaks
  • Workshops

The conference schedule is described in Eastern Daylight Time.


Welcome and Workshop: Paradigms of Education

Lindsay Baker and Stella Ng

Conference organizers, Lindsay Baker and Stella Ng, will facilitate a welcome and introductions in the spirit of transformative education. They will share details regarding the TforT: AC+ online community. And as a group, all conference participants will explore expectations and principles for engagement and dialogue over the next 3 days together. Participants will then engage in activities to consider their "paradigms of education," to set the conference experience in motion.

Tuesday, March 29, 9:00-10:30am

Keynote: Facilitating Transformative Conversations about Equity and Justice in Health Professions Education

Javeed Sukhera, MD, PhD, FRCPC 

Although equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) has become a strategic priority in medical education, efforts to advance justice through education face several barriers. For example, any educational interventions that seek to improve equity often involve sensitive topics related to EDI that provoke emotional and defensive reactions. In our previous research we learned that bias related feedback was unlikely to be perceived as actionable if it was construed as a threat to professional or personal identity. We have also explored how different disciplines interpret feedback and facilitation as part of teaching and learning about sensitive topics in their respective professional cultures. In this presentation, Dr. Sukhera will review existing research on facilitating sensitive conversations about EDI in health professions education and describe how professional context influences the process of receiving, processing, and integrating bias-related feedback.

Tuesday March 29, 10:45-11:45am

NEW talk: The how, the why, and the what of dialogic education: Advancing a critical pedagogical approach

Victoria Boyd, PhD Candidate

Dialogue offers a promising and aligned approach to advancing critical and transformative goals through collaborative group learning. Dialogue is an exploratory and open-ended conversation that brings together different perspectives, creating opportunities to learn with and from others, with the goal of generating new perspectives. This Nominated Emerging Work (NEW) talk will share a theory-informed approach to dialogic education that draws on the theory of Mikhail Bakhtin. The presentation will unpack the pedagogical practices (the how) and the theoretical principles (the why) of dialogue. To bring these principles and practices to life, an example of a dialogic intervention developed for a recent experimental study will be shared. This example will highlight how to integrate the content or domain knowledge one aims to teach (the what) into dialogue. Finally, the talk will showcase the results of the study, providing evidence for the impact of Bakhtin-informed dialogic education on learner's ability to enact critically reflective practice.

Tuesday, March 29, 1:00-2:30pm 

Roundtable: The Transformative Power of Partnering Patients and Families as Educators in Health Professions Education 

Adrienne Zarem, Aman Sium, Arno Kumagai (moderator), Clara Ho, Eli Cadavid, Janet Rodriguez, Sylvia Langlois

As a still-emerging model for health care teaching and education, this roundtable will be in conversation to tackle key questions about "Patient and Family as Educators/Faculty" co-teaching models. With an eye towards the transformative value and potential of this model, the panel will critically explore the inherent and emerging success factors, challenges, transformative benefit to participants, and the path forward in taking these co-teaching models to the next level.

Tuesday, March 29, 2:30-3:30pm


Workshop: Paawaawaywin (an awakening)

Amy Shawanda, PhD

In this workshop, you will be guided through a thought-provoking guided exercise. It may trigger an emotional response with Indigenous history and as a cautionary this may cause discomfort and could be triggering for certain individuals that have dealt with colonial traumas. The Paawaawaywin occurs when individuals interact with the Indigenous narratives and activity that will have a lasting impact and will leave participants re-examining their relationship with Indigenous People and Indigenous-Settler relationships individually and on a global scale. Throughout the workshop, the rationale and inspiration for the pedagogical moments and choices being made will be shared, with space for dialogue after the guided exercise.

Conference participants: Please bring 2 pieces of paper and drawing/colouring utensils.

Wednesday March 30, 9:00-10:30am

Submitted Short Talks

Sarah Wright, Jeffrey Kiyoshk Ross, Beck McNeil (moderators)

Please see schedule here. 

Wednesday March 30, 10:45am-12pm 

NEW talk: Involving Clients and Families in Transformative Education

Keith Adamson, PhD and Ami Goulden, MSW

This presentation introduces client and family involvement in postsecondary education and curriculum design. The presenters will share the process and procedures of their pilot project that entailed co-designing and co-teaching a graduate-level social work course. The instructors' personal experiences of collaborating with clients and families and lessons learned will be shared. Elements to support meaningful collaboration with clients and families and their practical application will be discussed. Furthermore, the instructors will share their reflections on collaboration in higher education and recognize the value and importance of including clients and families in postsecondary education.

Wednesday, March 30, 1:00-2:30pm

Keynote: New Frontiers in Program Evaluation: Transforming vs Transformative Evaluation

Yasser Ismail, C.E. & Betty Onyura, PhD, C.E.

What place does program evaluation occupy within a transformative social agenda? How does the positioning of evaluation within our institutions influence the role it can play in relation to social justice and systems change? In this presentation, we take participants on a journey through the landscape of evaluation - outlining its diverse theoretical roots and practice possibilities. We examine how the institutional context within which evaluation is embedded can invite or constrain possibilities, raising provocative questions about the practice of evaluation in health professions education. This talk will share recent research on the tensions that evaluators must routinely navigate and explore implications for transformative practice. Simultaneously, it will provide a unique perspective on transformative evaluation practices that is grounded the day-to-day realities of practicing evaluation in healthcare and health professions education.

Wednesday, March 30, 2:30-3:30pm


Workshop: Facilitating relational care through the arts: a workshop for educators 

Julia Gray, PhD 

In this workshop we will explore and understand relational care, which finds its roots in dementia care, disability studies and the arts. We will think together about how concepts from relational care can be extended to other areas of health care practice, as well as to teaching and learning. Through easy-going hands-on exercises (super chill and fun!), and discussion, we will explore how the arts are well situated to support relational care in practice and teaching. 

Conference participants: Please bring paper and writing/drawing/colouring utensils.

Thursday, March 31, 9:00-10:30am

NEW talk: Transformative Intersections of Health Professions Education and Critical Disability Studies

Shanon Phelan, PhD

Historically, disability has been understood as a medicalized condition in need of intervention or "fixing" within the health, medical, and rehabilitation professions. What if we thought about dis/ability as a social and relational experience that is generative and desirable? Drawing from Critical Disability Studies, Mad Studies and other related fields, we can rethink "disability" as it is currently understood in biomedical discourses in order to re-envision education and scholarship. In this way, a critical perspective on disability opens up the possibility for individual, social, and disciplinary transformation. Participants can expect to engage in reflexive dialogue about disability history and politics, assumptions underpinning rehabilitation theory and practice, and the ways health professional educators contribute to the (re)production of disability discourses. Through dialogue, participants will begin to critically examine their own teaching practices, specifically how we teach about core processes in health professional education such as client/family-centred care, assessment, goal setting, intervention planning, communication, and advocacy using a critical disability perspective.

Thursday, March 31, 10:45-12:15pm

Keynote: The Personal and the Political: Pedagogy of Discomfort and the Affective Dimensions of Educating for Justice

Megan Boler

How do we understand and engage the affective dimensions of learning and transformation without losing sight of the structural, historical and political dimensions of oppression? How can we challenge longstanding models that pathologize emotions, and understand emotional work as central to revolutionizing consciousness? How can we engage critical reflexivity that moves beyond individual change? My talk discusses the colonial and patriarchal history of emotion's exclusion from knowledge and higher education, and how critical and feminist pedagogies of the 1970s and '80s revolutionized our understanding of emotions (the "personal as political"!) I discuss how the "risks of empathy" may challenge conceptions of 'safe' and 'brave' spaces. Finally, I outline pedagogy of discomfort as an approach that engages emotions in our social justice work, and the emotional labor required for shattering worldviews.

Thursday, March 31, 1:00-2:00pm


Sharing the added features which include access to the private section of resources and activities and an online community of support. 

Thursday March 31, 2-2:30pm

NEW talk: Disrupting anti-Blackness in medical and health professions education

Drs Onye Nnorom, Sume Ndumbe-Eyoh, OmiSoore Dryden

This session will be an introduction to the newly formed Black Health Education Collaborative (BHEC), which aims to transform health professional education to improve the health of Black communities across Canada.BHEC is a community of scholars and practitioners committed to improving Black health through education and research. It was co-founded by Dr. Onye Nnorom (U of T) and Dr. OmiSoore Dryden (Dalhousie U). Ms. Sume Ndumbe-Eyoh is the Executive Director.

Thursday, March 31, 2:30-4:00pm