University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Does This Lecture Come with a Trigger Warning? The Challenge of Teaching Sensitive Topics

Harrop, Gillian (2015) Does This Lecture Come with a Trigger Warning? The Challenge of Teaching Sensitive Topics. Worcester Journal of Learning and Teaching (10). ISSN 2024-8032

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The hectic nature of modern life requires each of us to
find our own way to relax and put the challenges of work
to one side. My distraction of choice is a popular internet
discussion forum where readers can post on an array of
topics, from the best way to paint old furniture to
addressing the challenge of how to get children to eat
more vegetables (for the record, I still have no answer to
this). For as long as I can remember, it has been the case
that you read the brief, and the rather general title of a
thread and make a snap decision about whether to click
into it, taking your chances that it is going to be
something that is of interest to you. Recently though,
there seems to be an interesting new trend in thread titles. Many now contain the phrases ‘warning’, ‘possible
trigger’ or ‘sensitive’. Apparently, this is to warn forum
users that the thread contains some information that some
users may find upsetting, so they can make an informed
choice about whether to avoid the thread in question.
Issues such as child abuse, pregnancy loss and mental
illness have all been subject to this signposting within the thread title. This appears to be a very po
sitive step forward in terms of informing the reader and allowing them to make considered choices about what they expose themselves to. This increased emphasis on signposting resonates strongly with me as a lecturer in forensic psychology, where there is often a requirement to present extremely sensitive topics to students, and I wonder whether some of the signposting techniques used on the discussion board could inform the way that we address
this issue.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

Worcester Journal of Learning and Teaching (WJLT) is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Worcester to disseminate academic articles, project reports and personal perspectives about Learning and Teaching written by staff associated with the University and its partners.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: signposting, sensitive subjects, teaching, challenges, sensitive, forensic, trigger warning, sexual violence, learning, teaching, Worcester Journal of Learning and Teaching
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: Open access journal
Depositing User: Karol Kosinski
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2016 15:42
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:14

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