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State University of New York Press
Death in the Classroom: Writing about Love and Loss

Death in the Classroom: Writing about Love and Loss

by Jeffrey Berman


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Death in the Classroom: Writing about Love and Loss

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791476321
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 01/08/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 301
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 Getting Started 17

2 Writing an Obituary 43

3 Writing a Eulogy 57

4 On Teaching the Book of Job-and Being Denounced as a "False Prophet" 79

5 Writing on Religion and Death 103

6 Cathy's Letter to Her Deceased Mother in Wuthering Heights 121

7 A Problem with Another Student, and Evaluating the Evaluator 143

8 Ten Things to Do before I Die 155

9 Writing about Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide 177

10 Writing about Jeff's Former Students in Empathic Teaching 199

11 A Teacher's Self-Eulogy 219

Appendix A "Helping or Harming Students?" Richard Bower 227

Appendix B "Writing Has Saved My Life," Breanna's Story 241

Appendix C "Literature, If Anything, Will Save Me," Sara E. Murphy 261

Appendix D English 226: Love and Loss in Literature and Life 267

Works Cited 275

Student Writers 281

Index 283

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