Managing Student Self-Disclosure in Class Settings: Lessons from Feminist Pedagogy

Catherine Borshuk


The present article describes difficulties and opportunities associated with students’ disclosure of their personal experiences in university class settings. In classes that deal with topics such as violence, racism, family dynamics, mental health or social justice, students with first-hand experience of these topics can bring valuable real-life experience to class discussion. However, bringing intimate information to class may also raise issues of appropriate boundaries and the role of the classroom setting for sharing potentially upsetting information. Drawing on principles of feminist pedagogy and using examples from classes I teach about women and psychology, I detail the challenges related to students’ personal biographies and beliefs about their experiences, and outline some strategies that may usefully find balance between respecting their experiences and providing a learning environment while teaching about the values and ethics of an academic discipline.


self-disclosure; feminist pedagogy

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ISSN 1527-9316