Visceral Pedagogy: Teaching Challenging Topics Emotionally as Well as Cognitively

Joseph Pierce, Holly Widen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the pedagogical implications of students' embodied and emotional reactions to difficult course material inside and outside of the classroom. Scholarship on teaching typically focuses on dimensions of students' cognitive engagement and development, yet geographical coursework often involves emotionally fraught topics: environmental cataclysm, poverty, inequality, oppression, (ill) health, etc. Instructors who anticipate their students' emotional experiences will be able to better engage with and use these experiences toward learning goals. Some topics may be most effectively taught through emotionally activated learning activities, prompting reflection on the role of visceral learning experiences in higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geography
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • cognition
  • course design
  • emotional pedagogy
  • visceral pedagogy


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