Product reviews for Independent Thinking on Loss

Dr Janice Haigh, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, Childhood Studies, Sheffield Hallam University
This little book has a big message. The message is in lessons to learn, to attend to, to respond to, to be prepared for. Because loss is secret, profound, unmentionable - and skirting around the issue is culturally normal; Independent Thinking on Loss shouts with clarity and without shame or embarrassment. The reader is held responsible, to reflect on their responses, to consider the depth of confusion and vulnerability of young children experiencing an alien, all-consuming and culturally unacceptable phenomenon. And yet the reader is guided, supported, understood for past mistakes. The rationale (if one was needed) for teachers managing grief in the classroom is the same rationale for teachers managing social skills and emotional intelligence in the classroom; emotionally supported children develop resilience and achieve well. But surely, way beyond that, a teacher's ethos and philosophy regarding children as precious and unique and worthy of care as well as education is what calls them to respond to each child in their uniqueness and in acceptance of messy lives that need supporting. This firm and undeniable rationale unashamedly provided by Ian lays wide open the potential long-term outcomes and consequences if bereavement is not managed well.

The accounts written by William, Olivia and Phoebe are imbued with courageous honesty. An honesty which demands that you encounter the strength and confidence with which they are written in parallel with the vulnerability and fragility of personal, individual pain, together with an underpinning desire that we all learn from their experiences. This book disallows any justification we might have in asking, -˜But what could I do?' -˜What could I say?' - and demands that we act, react and are prepared to act, by teaching us how to act.

The sharing of the individuality and uniqueness of the experience of this profound loss by each member of this family - together with the sharing of subsequent experiences of the reactions of those around them - demonstrates that bereavement is going to be different for everyone who experiences it. This little book gives confidence in preparedness for the inevitability of this situation in the classroom and in life - because it really will be there, and in being prepared we will be more confident to be guided by the child and the family, taking time to find out what will be useful, and taking time and thought in communication, which in turn may have a significant impact on those potential long-term outcomes outlined right at the beginning of the book. And it is the honesty and depth of this sharing that gives weight and wealth to the vitally important lessons of Independent Thinking on Loss.
Guest | 14/02/2020 00:00
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