Original Publication
Open Access

Creating a Positive Learning Environment: Educational Film and Discussion Guide

Published: June 10, 2015 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10131

Included in this publication:

  • Instructor's Guide.docx
  • Facilitator Guide.doc
  • Creating a Positive Learning Environment Film.mp4
  • Learner Mistreatment Presentation.ppt
  • Post Activity Assessment.docx

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: The overall objectives of this teaching session are to demonstrate types of mistreatment as defined by the Association of American Medical Colleges and to begin a discussion about how to prevent, reduce, or eliminate mistreatment in the learning environment. This film/discussion experience is intended to engage participants in a dialogue on the problem of medical student mistreatment and to provide a forum to explore behaviors that may either contribute to or mitigate the problem. By viewing the film and reflecting on their own experiences, participants become more aware of the complexity of the problem. Ideally, participants can identify both internal (personal) and external (systemic) barriers to creating and maintaining an optimal learning environment. Methods: The film and discussion take roughly 60-65 minutes (8 minutes for the film, 15 minutes for background information, and 40 minutes for discussion) and are designed for either a large- or small-group setting.  Results: This resource was presented and well received at several grand rounds, educational committees, residents-as-teacher didactics, and medical student clerkship orientations. The discussions generated by the film raised participants’ consciousness and were helpful to them. Participants appreciated that the curriculum had been designed to promote discussion of a complex problem rather than to provide a black-and-white depiction with definitive answers. Discussion: It is important that instructors emphasize the fact that the film is purposefully ambiguous and meant to reflect the complexity of this problem. Because the scenarios presented are designed to be subtle, this learning exercise requires facilitators who can promote an honest and mutually supportive discussion on the nuances of the behaviors demonstrated.

Educational Objectives

The goals of this session are to:

  1. Promote and facilitate conversation on the topic of student mistreatment among all members of the learning environment.
  2. Increase awareness and understanding of the phenomenon of learner mistreatment among all participants.
  3. Increase recognition among participants of behaviors that both negatively and positively impact their trainees’ and colleagues’ experience.
  4. Encourage participants to engage in positive behaviors within the learning environment by enhancing their awareness of mistreatment.

Author Information

  • Anne Rich, MD: University of Vermont College of Medicine
  • Sean Ackerman, MD: University of Vermont College of Medicine
  • Charmaine Patel, MD: University of Vermont College of Medicine
  • Nathalie Feldman, MD, CM: University of Vermont College of Medicine
  • David Adams, MD: University of Vermont College of Medicine
  • Judith Lewis, MD: University of Vermont College of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


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Rich A, Ackerman S, Patel C, Feldman N, Adams D, Lewis J. Creating a positive learning environment: educational film and discussion guide. MedEdPORTAL. 2015;11:10131. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10131