How Can Reflective Teachers Support Marginalized Grieving Children?

Molly Doran, Hamline University


The question that drove this project was, How can reflective teachers support marginalized grieving children? of teaching, learning, and healing. It begins by examining culturally relevant teaching, critical race theory, and trauma-informed teaching. Next is consideration for the circumstances of marginalized learners, specifically urban learners and grieving learners. There is an abundance of literature on all of these topics. However, limited research is available when seeking to examine the intersection of these topics. The healing section describes how to use of healing circles and identifies restorative justice practices. The review concludes with a study of andragogy, or the study of adult learning as a segway to the professional development plan. The plan provides activities for teachers and other professionals to become more informed about using healing circles, intercultural development, grief and empathy, personal reflection and wellness, as well as culturally relevant teaching. There are levels of engagement to meet the needs of individuals at various entry points. The introduction level provides essential information and is designed for participations with minimal experience who want to learn through observation. The emerging level encourages participation, examination, and reflection and is designed for participants who want to expand their knowledge. The reflective practitioner level is for those who are competent to lead and facilitate. Results from an informal survey of teachers revealed a low level of knowledge about the topics of healing circles, intercultural development, grief and empathy, personal reflection and wellness, and culturally relevant teaching paired with a high level of interest in learning more. However, there are limitations with time, resources, and competing priorities. Future research may examine specific circumstances related to student and parent engagement with marginalized children who are grieving.