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Columbia Prof Says Trigger Warnings a Threat to Teaching English

Columbia Prof Says Trigger Warnings a Threat to Teaching English

“foster a culture where student fragility is promoted over the development of resilience”

Wouldn’t this same position apply in all areas of study? Kudos to the professor for standing up.

Campus Reform reports:

Prof: Trigger warnings ‘serious threats’ to teaching English

An English professor at Columbia University Teachers College recently argued that trigger warnings can pose “serious threats” to English education.

Adam Wolfsdorf, who teaches graduate classes on Shakespeare, just published his concerns on trigger warnings in an article entitled “Reflecting on Functioning in Trigger Happy America” in the peer-reviewed journal Changing English.

“Trigger warnings are posing serious threats to the ways that English educators can teach at the university level,” argues Wolfsdorf, who taught English for 18 years at the high school level, and is now in his fifth year of teaching at the Columbia University Teachers College.

In a list of six possible consequences of trigger warnings, he argues that they “foster a culture where student fragility is promoted over the development of resilience,” and can “encourage students to avoid intense literary moments that they may perceive as too powerful.”

Trigger warnings could also “handicap English teachers by censoring or casting certain literary moments as taboo,” and cripple “artistic freedom by arbitrarily sanctioning what is and what is not appropriate for class discussion and student experience,” he notes.

In an interview with Campus Reform, Wolfsdorf said that he was inspired to write on trigger warnings after realizing that academic debate on the issue was “void of significant academic research.”

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Wait – a professor showing common sense? How did this one escape the mandatory brain washing? And does he have plenty of money in the bank, because obviously he will be unemployed soon.

Saith the Professor:
In a list of six possible consequences of trigger warnings, he argues that they “foster a culture where student fragility is promoted over the development of resilience,” and can “encourage students to avoid intense literary moments that they may perceive as too powerful.”

Trigger warnings could also “handicap English teachers by censoring or casting certain literary moments as taboo,” and cripple “artistic freedom by arbitrarily sanctioning what is and what is not appropriate for class discussion and student experience,” he notes.

In an interview with Campus Reform, Wolfsdorf said that he was inspired to write on trigger warnings after realizing that academic debate on the issue was “void of significant academic research.”

DING DING DING DING!!!!!!!

Give the man a see-gar!

About time someone in academia (or what passes for it nowadays) finally stares the obvious: “The Emporer Has No Clothes!”

Guess he’ll be eating his lunches all alone in his office once all of the other academic “kids-in-adult-clothes” throw him out of the lunchroom.

I seriously doubt there is anything in Shakespeare that is “too powerful” for me.

    Yeah, well, I’ve got this woman who teaches where I do, glaring at or studiously ignoring me for the last year or so. Why? Because I opined that it was OK for a white actor to play Othello in dark makeup. For my trouble, I was informed that such an opinion was racist, that only black actors should be cast in the part, and that my opinion was identical to approval of minstrel shows. However, she seemed to think that Pacino or Patrick Stewart playing Shylock was somehow “different.” I would have explored the issue further, but she stalked off.

In all my years of teaching, I have only given one trigger warning, and it’s a good one:

Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!

Other than in firearms safety classes, trigger warnings have no place in education.

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