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Activity 1: Provocation and Response

Transformative education focuses on shifting perspectives; therefore education approaches like the provocation and response may be of use. In a provocation and response, the point is not to present a best practice or to arrive at a conclusion. Rather, we aim to unsettle assumptions to provoke thought and to engage in dialogue about assumptions and practices, and their intended and unintended effects.

Provocation: Watch the video below, with a lens of skepticism about the exercise as an educational tool.  What  potential harms could occur, what does it oversimplify, and whose learning does it centre? (Please see note below)

Key Principles

Response: Use the following discussion prompts below to think with a group (ideally) or reflect on your own.

  1. Consider a source of privilege in your life, and tell us about a time it has benefited your health.
  2. As a health professions teacher/educator, describe an experience where ‘the health system’ felt unjust, and you felt powerless to change it.
  3. If you were to use an approach like this video in your own teaching, what might be the benefits and the potential harms? What might some unintended negative consequences be? How would you mitigate the potential harms and negative consequences?


We chose this activity not to say that it is an ideal teaching method. Instead, we wanted to present it as a provocative example, while raising questions about the promises and pitfalls of activities like this. The readings below discuss some of the theory and evidence relating to educational approaches that aim to shift perspectives. However, we caution against using these types of activities without appropriate critical reflection and dialogue-based debriefing.

For further reading

  • Lindsey A, King E, Hebl M, Levine N. Erratum to: The impact of method, motivation, and empathy on diversity training effectiveness. Journal of Business and Psychology. 2015;30(3):619.
  • Lindsey A, King E, Membere A, Cheung HK. Two types of diversity training that really work. Harvard Business Review. 2017 Jul 28 [cited 2017 Aug 9]. Available from:
  • Pendry LF, Driscoll DM, Field SC. Diversity training: Putting theory into practice. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. 2007;80(1):27-50.
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