A discussion is a powerful tool, but facilitating challenging discussions often leaves many of us feeling ill-equipped to address the very complex emotional and intellectual topics that enter our classrooms.
In this pre-semester conversation, we considered a variety of perspectives, methods, and frameworks for these discussions and considerations that we might take back to our classrooms. Questions we have considered include:
- What is the history of the use of terms such as trigger warnings and safe spaces that populate our concerns for the classroom?
- What have been the different definitions/language uses/applications of them?
- What research provides context?
- What policies, if any, have we to consider?
- How are these issues part of larger tensions around identity, belonging, exclusion?
- What do we know of psychological health needs of our current student body?
- Is there a differential expectation of support for such discussions within some courses and on some faculty?