Chapter 3: Teachable moments


What the grief expert says
Andrea Warnick, registered psychotherapist, talks teachable moments being powerful teaching opportunities.(3:22)
Lysa Toye, social worker, psychotherapist, talks about the benefits of naturalizing the reality of death for children.(3:22)Video transcript

“Her parents hadn’t told me their pet had died that morning, so I was caught off guard when June broke out crying. I decided to use this opportunity to discuss grief and loss with the rest of the class that afternoon.”  - Teacher

Students can benefit from learning about death and grief long before someone in their lives dies. Unanticipated life events in the school yard, classroom, or community present powerful opportunities to shape the relationship students of all ages have with dying, death, and grief in healthy ways through useful educational insights or teachable moments. 

What is a teachable moment?

“A teachable moment is a spontaneous mini-lesson inserted into the daily planned activities based on something that has just happened. Its power comes from catching the moment and creating a living, dynamic learning situation.” 
-Life and Loss: A Guide to Helping Grieving Children (2014). Linda Goldman. Routledge (Taylor and Francis Page 170.)

This chapter will explore examples of teachable moments and introduce some concepts and suggestions on how to use those teachable moments to integrate grief education into discussions with students.