Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


Many workshops about identifying, understanding, and responding to microaggressions have been designed and delivered to learners within health education. However, few workshops implement an anti-racist pedagogical approach, and none presented in the literature have been created specifically for occupational therapy students. Anti-racist pedagogical approaches explicitly link interpersonal and institutional/structural oppressions to ensure that the impacts of microaggressions are not minimized by focusing solely on interpersonal interactions. A specific workshop is needed to address the noted persistence of racial microaggressions directed at clients, families, students, and practitioners within occupational therapy contexts and due to the embeddedness of practitioners in clients’ daily lives. To address the gap in curricular intervention tools, a workshop was designed and implemented. The workshop was delivered to master's professional entry-level occupational therapy students with the goal of raising knowledge of racial microaggressions and confidence to actively respond when microaggressions occur in their classroom, fieldwork, and future practice. This workshop was developed and delivered using an anti-racist pedagogy and a transformative learning approach within the occupational therapy curriculum of a Canadian university. This paper presents the content, process, and pedagogical underpinnings of the workshop and introduces a trauma-informed and strength-based model for responding to microaggressions. When introduced through an anti-racist pedagogy, we demonstrate how a workshop on racial microaggressions provides an opportunity to teach occupational therapy students key tenets of racism and anti-racism as they manifest in and beyond occupational therapy. An anti-racist approach can inform pedagogical planning for microaggression workshops delivered across and beyond health education.


Shannon Giannitsopoulou (she/her), MA, PMP is a critical scholar and social justice practitioner living in Tkaronto. Having worked in equity roles at the University of Toronto’s Faculties of Medicine and Kinesiology, she is passionate about health justice. She is a Doctorate of Education candidate in OISE’s Social Justice Education Program.

Jane A. Davis, MSc, OT Reg. (Ont.), OTR is Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, Tkaronto (Toronto), Ontario, Canada. Jane teaches the Foundations of Occupational Therapy course in the first term of the MScOT program using transformative learning and critical pedagogical approaches.

Bismah Khalid, MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.), an occupational therapist and Accessibility Consultant at George Brown College, is passionate about accessible, anti-oppressive, and equitable educational experiences for all learners.

Ruheena Sangrar, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.) is an occupational therapist and Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, Tkaronto (Toronto), Ontario, Canada. She engages in design and delivery of equity and inclusion curricular content within the MScOT program.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.