Managing Difficult Conversations

Resources for managing difficult conversations and building community in the classroom

Managing Difficult Conversations (PDF, 181KB)

conversation bubbles with icons displaying difficult conversationsWhether local, national, or international in scope, times of crisis can have significant impacts on university classrooms. Such incidents or tragic events can also trigger memories of past personal or historical group trauma for certain students, depending on their personal and social-cultural contexts.  With the goal of building community in the classroom and engaging learning experiences, we have curated these resources for instructors to adopt, adapt, and consider. 

Pedagogical resources for instructors

These resources provide practical strategies related to structuring instructional environments (classroom, seminar, etc.), and the teaching conversations that instructors and learners might engage in during this time.

Trauma-informed Pedagogies

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health introduces the definition of trauma as “the emotional response when an injury overwhelms us.”  These resources provide information and practical strategies to plan for the likelihood of engaging with learners and instructors who have experienced trauma.  The information curated in this section is of particular importance to consider when engaging with content and materials that are related and relevant to traumatic events (e.g., abuse, war, genocide etc.).

Media Literacy supports for instructors

The pervasive exposure to media can lead to overwhelming influence and impacts on learners and instructors.  These resources provide strategies for instructors to consider, and to intentionally enhance media literacy in the teaching and learning environment.


  • Imad, M. (2022). Trauma‐informed education for wholeness: Strategies for faculty & advisors—Imad—2022—New Directions for Student Services—Wiley Online Library. In T. R. Shalka & W. K. Okello (Eds.), Trauma-iformed practice in student affairs: Multidimentional considerations for care, healing, and wellbeing (pp. 39–47). Wiley.
  • Imad, M. (2022). Our Brains, Emotions, and Learning: Eight Principles of Trauma-Informed Teaching. In P. Thompson & J. Carello (Eds.), Trauma-Informed Pedagogies: A Guide for Responding to Crisis and Inequality in Higher Education (pp. 35–47). Palgrave Macmillan.


For additional resources for students, faculty, and staff from the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor.