How to teach sensitive topics close to students’ lives?
How to teach sensitive topics close to students’ lives?




In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

How to teach topics which in some way come very close to the students and their lives or are related to who they are? What I have in mind are cases of teaching sexual ethics when someone in the classroom says she is a victim of a sexual assault, teaching philosophy of disability when there is a disabled person in the class, or teaching philosophy of discrimination when you have 24 white students and one black student on the course? Is there something the teacher should do differently in these cases compared to when the issue is not present in the same way?

These are excellent and important questions. Another reader submitted the following reply: 

I have an experience that is relevant to [the OP’s] question. I was teaching a feminist philosophy class for the first time and we often discussed sexual assault. I used an example to explain a concept and, unbeknownst to me, the example I used very closely matched the actual experience of one of my students. She emailed me about it later and requested that I stick to the examples provided in the text. That way, she explained, she will have already grappled with the exemplar situation (at least once) while reading and could be more mentally and emotionally prepared in class discussions. I apologized to her and agreed that her suggestion was very sensible. That’s what I did for the rest of the semester and I had no other issues.

Does anyone else have any helpful tips or experiences to share?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More