Death Education: Meaning and Significance

Death teaching is a kind of funeral education to increase the deeply personal dimensions of death. Grief counseling is the major emphasis, while instruction on the physiological elements of dying is sometimes included. Thanatology, "the study of death," is the proper name for death instruction. The term "thanatology" was coined from two Greek words: "Thanatos," which means "dying," as well as "logy," which means "a study" or "an organized knowledge - base." A thanatology is an expert in the realm of death and dying. The term "death education" describes how one prepares for and processes death. In addition to understanding the various stages of dying, the major themes of mindsets and interpretations towards death, especially its aftereffects of learning to care for individuals afflicted by death, are all addressed in death education. One of the primary goals of funeral education is to help people learn to manage their sorrow. The stigmatizing nature of funeral education means many avoid discussing mortality and loss with their friends and family. The more people are taught about death, the less stigma it will have

What does Death Education Explain?

For two main reasons, teaching people about death is important. To begin, educating people about death is essential for training people to contribute to the area and achieve its goals. Second, it disseminates the foundational understanding and experience gained in the sector to the public. Teaching about death has two primary goals: first, to enhance the standard of life as well as existence for the individual and society at large, and second, to aid in the establishment and upkeep of the circumstances that will make this possible. This is achieved through acquiring a fresh understanding and adjusting one's habits accordingly. There is a wide range of intentions, methods, time frames, levels of intensity, and types of people participating in death education. The tone might be professional or casual. Graduate institutions with strict grading and therapeutic internships are two examples of the types of professional funeral education available. It may be broken down into smaller, self-contained pieces of instruction or integrated into bigger syllabi.

The Approach of Death Education

The approaches of death education are

Didactic Approach of Death

There are two main schools of thought when formalizing discussions about dying: instructional and experienced. The goal of this more instructive method is to increase comprehension.

Experiential Approach of Death

To change people's perspectives about mortality, the experiencing method is employed to get them emotionally invested in the topic. This method calls for a safe space where members may open up about their emotions via classroom discussion, leadership, and other forms of modeling. The vast majority of teachers use a hybrid of the two strategies.

History of Death Education

From which funeral education sprang, the death knowledge concept may be said to have unofficially begun with the publication of Herman Feifel's The Significance of Death. To accept one's immortality, he, as well as other academics, said, is crucial to living a fulfilling life, even though this topic had already become "taboo" in the 20th century. Feifel was an early proponent of the interdisciplinary character of studying people's perspectives on death and dying. Around the same time, other trailblazers investigated specialized aspects of dying people's care and grieving.

Stages of Death Education

Stages of death education are

Denial by the Person

It begins by ignoring the problem and withdrawing from society. The first reaction to learning that a beloved one has a terminal disease is to refuse to accept the truth. It is a safety measure since it helps us avoid confronting the truth by preventing us from properly absorbing what we hear.

Anger of a Person

When denial wears off, the hurtful effects of the news are exposed.

Example of Death Education

A group of kids stumbles upon a dead bird inside a field in a novel named "The Dead Bird." The youngsters discover the bird is dead, even though its carcass is still warming. Its closed eyes mean they cannot feel its heartbeat, and as they approach it, it becomes increasingly cold and motionless. Therefore, they plan to have a memorial for the bird "the way grown men and women did when somebody died." They prepare a burial site in the woods by digging a hole and filling it with pleasant, warm ferns before laying the bird inside, covered in grapevine leaves. After that, they chant the last farewell and bury the tomb with soil and more flowers. The kids then place a stone on the tomb and write, "HERE LIES The BIRD That is DEAD," before planting flowers around the site.

Moreover, the narrative says that each day until he was forgotten, they returned, sang to their small dead bird, and laid flower stalks on his tomb." The plot of this narrative offers a lot of intriguing elements. The youngsters quickly recognize the bird is dead since it does not behave or touch like the live creatures they are used to. They feel bad about the bear's passing but are excited to play out a mock funeral and burial, allowing them to practice and imitate adult actions. Both those details and the narrative may be used as engaging resources for non-formal death teaching. The outline of this occurrence is easy to make out, and it might be relevant to wild and domesticated animals like dogs, cats, fish, and tiny confined animals. Without the guidance of an expert, youngsters may understand death via their own unanticipated personal experiences, such as the one described above.


While there is still a stigma attached to talking about life and death, it is hoped that public perceptions of death and dying might be normalized with support and education. Individuals will cease shrinking away from the subject out of fear and start bracing themselves for whatever the future may hold. Death teaching is useful for everybody, not only doctors and nurses caring for the terminally ill, since it highlights the significance of quality of life and the quest for purpose in one's existence. Because death was the inevitable endpoint of all human experience, we needed to be continuously ready for it.

Updated on: 03-Jan-2023


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