Teacher Discretion Label


Why are there Teacher Discretion labels on some lessons?

ESL Library is a resource platform used in more than 10,000 schools around the world. Our materials are used by teachers in K–12 schools, universities and colleges, private language institutes, and corporate training facilities. Tutors also use our content in one-on-one or semi-private settings. While much of our content is suitable for all ages, some of our materials touch on subject matter that is not appropriate for all audiences.

We believe it’s the role of language teachers to help learners express themselves in all situations. With mature audiences, this includes talking about controversial or sensitive subjects such as politics, sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, and death. Since ESL Library allows teachers to pick and choose materials based on students’ needs and interests, we sometimes develop content that covers these and other sensitive subjects. However, we strongly believe that it’s the teacher’s responsibility to determine what is and is not appropriate for their students.


When do we add a Teacher Discretion label to a lesson? 

Previewing the content before using it in class is always recommended. We add a Teacher Discretion label to a lesson or resource if we feel a warning would be helpful. This means the materials contain sensitive subject matter that may not be obvious without a careful preview. If it is obvious from the title or description that the materials will include sensitive subject matter, we do not add a Teacher Discretion label. 


Example of when we don’t add a label: We have a lesson on beer in our Famous Things section. The lesson is about the history of beer and how it’s made. We have not added a Teacher Discretion label to that lesson as it is obvious that the lesson mentions alcohol. 


Example of when we do add a label: We have a lesson on emoji in our Discussion Starters section. The reading mentions how teens use emoji to speak in code related to sex and alcohol. Even though this lesson section is meant for mature audiences, we have added a Teacher Discretion label due to the sensitive subject matter. Teachers may not be expecting to see sex and alcohol mentioned in a lesson on emoji. 


We are interested in your thoughts. 

As a language teacher, you are regularly making decisions about what is and is not appropriate subject matter for your students. Likewise, as a language publisher, we are in constant communication with teachers to find out which subjects they want us to cover. Please feel free to reach out to us by email if you have any thoughts on how we present sensitive subject matter in our content. We are always listening and always interested in making improvements.

Note: The Teacher Discretion label is a work in progress and some materials may not have been tagged yet. If you come across material that you think requires this label, please reach out to our editors.

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