I heard Jeffrey Berman speak at a conference a couple of years ago on this and was impressed with his intelligent and moving ideas. Here, now, is announcement for the book, published with SUNY press. You can read the first chapter here.
Jeffrey Berman, Death in the Classroom
Shows how death education can be brought from the healing professions to the literature classroom.
In Death in the Classroom, Jeffrey Berman writes about Love and Loss, the course that he designed and taught two years after his wife’s death, in which he explored with his students the literature of bereavement. Berman, building on his previous courses that emphasized self-disclosing writing, shows how his students wrote about their own experiences with love and loss, how their writing affected classmates and teacher alike, and how writing about death can lead to educational and psychological breakthroughs. In an age in which eighty percent of Americans die not in their homes but in institutions, and in which, consequently, the living are separated from the dying, Death in the Classroom reveals how reading, writing, and speaking about death can play a vital role in a student’s education.
“Death in the Classroom deals with an extremely important topic—our attitudes toward death and grieving and the possibility of helping students, through reading, writing, and classroom discussion, to reflect on death and grieving in their own and others’ lives. I like the book’s clarity and the vigor of its argument for death education in the university classroom. This is a book for teachers, especially teachers of literature and life writing who are committed to teaching literature from an ethical and experiential perspective, and it will also appeal to those interested in death education and attitudes toward death and dying, particularly in North America.” — Hilary Clark, editor of Depression and Narrative: Telling the Dark
Jeffrey Berman is Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at the University at Albany, State University of New York. His previous books include Dying to Teach: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Learning, also published by SUNY Press; Cutting and the Pedagogy of Self-Disclosure; Empathic Teaching: Education for Life; and Risky Writing: Self-Disclosure and Self-Transformation in the Classroom.