Lessening sensitivity: student experiences of teaching and learning sensitive issues

Pam Lowe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite growing interest in learning and teaching as emotional activities, there is still very little research on experiences of sensitive issues. Using qualitative data from students from a range of social science disciplines, this study investigates student's experiences. The paper highlights how, although they found it difficult and distressing at times, the students all valued being able to explore sensitive issues during their studies. The paper argues that it is though repeated exposure to sensitive issues within the classroom that the students became more comfortable with the issues. This process of lessening sensitivity is an important part of the emotional journey through higher education. It will argue that good student experiences need not always be positive emotions and that sensitive issues should be seen as an important part of transformational education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-129
Number of pages11
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Teaching in Higher Education on 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13562517.2014.957272

Funding: Higher Education Academy [grant number GEN470]


  • educational journey
  • emotions
  • sensitive issues
  • student experience


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