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Teaching Death and Dying$
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Christopher M Moreman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335224.001.0001

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 Psychology, Grief, and the Student

 Psychology, Grief, and the Student

(p.97) 7 Psychology, Grief, and the Student
Teaching Death and Dying

David E. Balk

Oxford University Press

Three considerations involving psychology provide important points of entry for teaching college students about thanatology. The first consideration is to examine psychological understandings of bereavement, grief, and mourning. The second consideration is the prevalence within any college campus of students in the first or second year following the death of a family member or a friend, with the subsequent interest many students will have in issues of thanatology. The third consideration involves strategies and principles, many from educational psychology, for promoting active learning in a college course on death and dying. Further, there are fundamental matters of ethics to be examined regarding teacher obligations and classroom protocol when engaging students on thanatology topics. Because painful feelings and emotional distress may be elicited, this chapter asks whether teachers should do more than listen attentively. Should the syllabus contain “informed consent” in which the potential for painful feelings to be elicited gets mentioned and cautions are raised that the course is not the place for someone wanting to resolve bereavement? Responses of three experienced professors about these ethical issues are included.

Keywords:   psychology, grief, student experience, ethics, teacher-student relationship

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