Wednesday, January 29

The Ethical Debate in Using Trigger Warnings

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By Fatma Katr

In a world where education is constantly developing, curriculums are rapidly adopting new learning techniques and content that grasp world reality. Case studies and coursework relevant to real-life situations are some of the best ways students can practically apply what they learn, instead of only debating something in the abstract. 

Although educational content is more plausible and effective with students when it tackles real-life situations, it is prone to include unsettling parts. Those parts are originally integrated in the texture of life in this world that could be experienced by anyone—but the ethics of exposing these real-life scenarios to students, who may or may not have actually experienced them, during a classroom is controversial. 

The use of trigger warnings in higher education institutions to caution students of potentially distressing or unsettling content used in the learning process has become an ethical debate. This article examines the effectiveness of trigger warnings, and the ethical grounds for the practice.

  • What qualifies as a trigger
  • Effectiveness: Consequence of using “trigger warnings” 
  • Is it a mean of censorship and an excuse for students to skip class or an assignment?
  • Common use of trigger warnings and their alternatives

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