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"Trigger" List for College Reading : Conversation question • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

"Trigger" List for College Reading

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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shadowwalker
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby shadowwalker » Sun May 25, 2014 8:41 pm

The biggest problem with trying to do a large scale trigger warning is that no one can determine what a trigger will be for any partcular student. Out a traumatic event, one thing can become the symbol (ie, trigger) for that experience, and it could make absolutely no sense to anyone else as to why that became the trigger. Triggers are not always generalized in nature (such as "rape" or "murder"); they can and often are very specific. A car accident in a book may not trigger anyone - a specific injury in that car accident could. How on earth can teachers figure out what all the triggers could be in order to warn of them?

The intent is good, but effective implementation is impossible. If students know they have triggers, they should a) be looking at information on the books assigned which is readily available and b) be working with their therapists and/or student services to find a work-around or other ways of dealing with it. Taking that responsibility can mean regaining a feeling of power over the situation, which is one of the main goals of therapy with PTSD.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

Mazy
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby Mazy » Sun May 25, 2014 10:53 pm

[quote="shadowwalker"]The biggest problem with trying to do a large scale trigger warning is that no one can determine what a trigger will be for any partcular student. Out a traumatic event, one thing can become the symbol (ie, trigger) for that experience, and it could make absolutely no sense to anyone else as to why that became the trigger. Triggers are not always generalized in nature (such as "rape" or "murder"); they can and often are very specific. A car accident in a book may not trigger anyone - a specific injury in that car accident could. How on earth can teachers figure out what all the triggers could be in order to warn of them?

The intent is good, but effective implementation is impossible. If students know they have triggers, they should a) be looking at information on the books assigned which is readily available and b) be working with their therapists and/or student services to find a work-around or other ways of dealing with it. Taking that responsibility can mean regaining a feeling of power over the situation, which is one of the main goals of therapy with PTSD.[/quote]

The intent is for the student to take responsibility for an event of a specific trigger, and the proposed method is for the student to be excused from a specific reading and perhaps given an alternate assignment. This isn't a question of a professor's responsibility to monitor reading material for a student, it is a bid for an empathetic correct attitude. Therapy for any trauma is never immediate.
[color=#4000FF]“Four thousand volumes of metaphysics
will not teach us what the soul is.” Voltaire
[/color

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shadowwalker
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby shadowwalker » Sun May 25, 2014 11:14 pm

"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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robjvargas
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby robjvargas » Mon May 26, 2014 2:58 am

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby Mazy » Mon May 26, 2014 10:29 am

[quote="robjvargas"][quote="Mazy"]
The intent is for the student to take responsibility for an event of a specific trigger, and the proposed method is for the student to be excused from a specific reading and perhaps given an alternate assignment. This isn't a question of a professor's responsibility to monitor reading material for a student, it is a bid for an empathetic correct attitude. Therapy for any trauma is never immediate.[/quote]
One of the nasty little facts of life is that good intentions don't always lead to good outcomes.

How is a professor to balance the educational needs of the allegedly triggering work with the academic goals of the class? He/She isn't in a position to fairly or reliably gauge the psychological pain and compare it versus those goals.

And if we give medically trained professionals time by declaring "therapy... isn't immediate," then how can we expect trigger warnings to be any better for students?

If a professor feels comfortable accommodating a student, great. Obligating that of the same professor? No.[/quote]

My point exactly! I repeat; this is not a question of an instructor's responsibility to monitor reading material, or upset academic goals of the class, it is a bid to accomplish a regard for (individual) trauma. The instructor has the choice to not accommodate, as the student has the choice to not attend. And the unfortunate fact of life is, trauma therapy is a long process. Personalities differ and the attitude of allowing trigger material alerts is possibly nothing more than an assistant able to prepare an alert in the class syllabus. This way a student has a choice, and a professor has no involvement other than instructor.
[color=#4000FF]“Four thousand volumes of metaphysics
will not teach us what the soul is.” Voltaire
[/color

James A. Ritchie
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon May 26, 2014 11:33 am

They're adults. They gain nothing by avoiding "triggers" except a lifetime of avoidance. Sometimes bad things happen. The choice is to spend your life trying to avoid a "trigger", or to face up to it, and get over it.

Either way, it's one hundred percent the student's responsibility.

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shadowwalker
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby shadowwalker » Mon May 26, 2014 11:43 am

Although James is sounding a bit too much like General Patton for my taste (or experience), I agree with him in that people do need to learn how to deal with triggers, rather than avoiding them. That is why they need to be working with therapists - and part of that therapy (like with mental illnesses) is learning how to cope in the present versus looking only at the long-term goals.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

Bradley Steven
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby Bradley Steven » Mon May 26, 2014 4:45 pm


Mazy
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby Mazy » Mon May 26, 2014 5:16 pm

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Last edited by Mazy on Mon May 26, 2014 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[color=#4000FF]“Four thousand volumes of metaphysics
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shadowwalker
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Re: "Trigger" List for College Reading

Postby shadowwalker » Mon May 26, 2014 5:55 pm

"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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