You are in an interaction.  It's not going well.  

You are encountering responses, reactions or behaviours that are different than what you were expecting.

Apply the O – D – I - S

OBSERVE – notice your reaction.  Step back and pause. 

DESCRIBE – objectively describe the interaction, the context, what happened

INTERPRET – consider all possible perspectives 

SUSPEND JUDGMENT – throughout this process suspend certainty & judgement


O.D.I.S. Case Scenarios

Please refer to the below scenarios during the exercise of ODIS. In discussing the scenarios, assume you are an observer or one of the subjects in the scenario. 

Scenario 1

A female graduate student of Asian descent comes to a coaching appointment and nods her head with everything that's said. She does not engage in a productive discussion, nor (attempts to) drive the conversation as per her needs or concerns. When repeatedly asked to share her comments, concerns and opinions – she does not engage with eye contact, keeps looking down, nods in agreement, and states that it's all okay and understands what is agreed upon.

Scenario 2

A young woman comes to service desk wearing a niqab (an Islamic face-covering for women that veils the the face and hair). As she is speaking to the Library Assistant, a newly hired student staff member makes the following comment behind the Library Assistant: “Is she going to a costume party?” It is unclear whether the patron has heard this.

Scenario 3

A student visits a counsellor to discuss her concerns about one of her classes. She explains to the counsellor that during a class, her teacher told the class that when giving presentations to “Orientals”, students should use a different approach. The instructor said that “Orientals” are submissive and cannot be expected to respond to comments made in a presentation. The student tells the counsellor that she would like to be exempted from the class.

Scenario 4

You notice that a graduate student is very affectionate with everybody. He kisses everyone on the cheek when greeting “Hello” and “Goodbye”. To you it all seems good natured. At the same time, however, you notice that it makes some of the international graduate students and even some faculty uncomfortable.

Scenario 5

A graduate student comes to the GSS office with a complaint about a newly hired male colleague. She complains that he is dismissive of LGBTQ*2S undergraduate students and related issues. He has not said anything overtly homophobic, but she claims to sense that he appears annoyed by the university's Pride-related activities. At a recent GSS event, he quietly mentioned surprise that these issues are so openly discussed “here”, and that in his “home country” there would have been more emphasis on academics.

Scenario 6

A graduate student comes to the service desk with a long list of citations of science journals. The student struggles to explain what she/he needs in English, but is able to communicate to the Library Assistant that the citations are needed for a professor. The Library Assistant shows the student how to find the first two citations with the intent of giving the student basic citations research skills. The Library Assistant then explains that the student now needs to find the other citations on their own. The student appears disinterested and is beginning to seem agitated.

Scenario 7

During an intake interview with an Aboriginal client, a health care provider begins asking questions to gather information for a file.  They get no response.  They move to the next question and again there is no response.  This is repeated several times before the health care provider writes “non-compliant” on the chart and moves on to the next person.