Best practices for teaching taboo topics

Best practices for teaching taboo topics

Event Type



Cunningham Memorial Library, Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence, first floor




(812) 237-2688


For some instructors, discussing a topic that would make others blush is just another day in the classroom. For others, the thought of managing a classroom in which taboo topics are discussed brings uncertainty, anxiety, and hesitation. What do you need to consider before broaching a controversial topic in your class? Should you use "trigger warnings" when you do? How can you help students examine a taboo topic in a way that's meaningful and productive? Do you need rules on your syllabus to ensure such a discussion doesn't go terribly wrong? How do you lead discussions of taboo topics related to groups of which you are not a member? This workshop will help you answer these questions. Veteran of teaching about taboo topics yourself? Add your voice to the discussion. The speaker is Betsy Lucal, sociology professor and director of First Year Experience at Indiana University South Bend.