Are some topics too sensitive for school?


In September last year the biggest sociology exam board, AQA, dropped a seminal study into suicide from their curriculum. The 1897 Emile Durkheim is regarded as an important point in sociology being regarded as a science, and also history in general. AQA have stated that their decision to remove this important study was taken in consultation with teachers in order to avoid undue distress to pupils, and to keep lesson content interesting.

However, suicide won’t go away just because it makes people feel uncomfortable about it; and indeed evidence shows that talking about suicide and mental health issues reduces stigma, and is overall a positive thing. Additionally, it isn’t the only sensitive subject in sociology, other topics include; race, ethnicity and domestic violence. Why are some subjects too sensitive and others not?

There is no denying that suicide can touch a nerve (to put it mildly), but it can also be taught in a compassionate and sensitive way. An academic approach to the subject, in a place with a strong emphasis on pastoral care can ensure that pupils are able to discuss suicide, and other topics, in a rigorous way. Discussing suicide in education should veer away from personal anecdote, and focus on training young minds to be impartial in debating. Students are aware when the enrol on the course that they will cover some raw subjects during the course, and teachers try to warn those they are aware are directly affected by a subject ahead of time, allowing them to choose whether they would like to partake in the lesson.

What are your thoughts? Are some subjects too touchy to teach at school? Or should teachers break taboos? How do you approach subjects like these? Let us know in the comment boxes below.


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2016-10-14 22:40:06 - Mrs R Malik

I don't think talkino about Suicide should be too senative subject in High schools and other keystage3,4,5 stages. It's how an Educator teaches it. Some hints the Educator can state the aims and objectives of the Subject and make it clear to the students that she/he is there to provide the right help and agencies to overcome becoming Suicidle.The Educator needs to approach this subject with senativity and listen to each student

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