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Emotionally-Laden Classroom Experiences Across Curricula: Trigger & Content Warnings

The Simmons College Center for Excellence in Teaching's Guide to Facilitating Emotionally-Laden Classroom Experiences Across Curricula: Resources for Teaching

Materials from the CET 2017 Lunchtime Dialogue presented by Shari Robinson-Lynk (Professor of Practice, School of Social Work): 

Trigger and Content Warnings: Balancing Student Mental Health with Course Learning Outcomes and Academic Freedom

Defining Trigger and Content Warnings

DEFINING TW & CW:
NOTE:  This is the presenter, Shari Robinson-Lynk's working definition

Warning (preparing) students through a statement (written or verbal) students for the possibility of content (images, readings/words (i.e. history, case studies/vignettes), sounds, experiences, etc. that may “trigger” (cause) a traumatic (either immediate or delayed) response.

Things to think about

DISCUSSION PROMPTS:

  • Do you address TW & CW in your classes before it occurs?
    • If yes, why & how?
    • If no, why not?
  • How do you respond when students are triggered after it occurs?
  • Mute/block the image?
  • Address it? How?
  • Ignore it? Why?
  • Other reactions?
  • How do you see TW & CW influencing your academic freedom in the classroom?
  • Do you view this influence as positive?  If so, why/how?
  • Do you view this influence as a challenge?  If so, why/how?
  • How do you see TW & CW affecting your course learning outcomes?
  • Do you view this as a positive affect?  If so, why/how?
  • Do you view this as a negative affect?  If so, why/how?
  • Do you consider TW & CW to be an accommodation issue?
  • Why?
  • Why, not?
  • With the current focus on students & free-speech, do you believe faculty can be triggered?
    • Has this ever happened to you?  What was your experience?