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Death Reminders: Teaching About School Shootings in Social Studies

Death Reminders: Teaching About School Shootings in Social Studies
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Author(s): Kimberly R. Edmondson (University of Alberta, Canada)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 27
Source title: Impact of School Shootings on Classroom Culture, Curriculum, and Learning
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Gordon A. Crews (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5200-1.ch011


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Discussing school shootings as current or historical events in social studies classrooms can be a difficult endeavour, as it requires confronting death and making sense of violent human behaviour. This chapter asserts that existential anxiety plays a role in helping us better understand these tragedies. Terror management theory (TMT) accounts for existential anxiety as a driver of human behaviour and can be a powerful conceptual tool to help students and teachers unpack the difficult subject matter of school shootings, as well as provide insight for behavioural responses that may emerge in the classroom in response to these discussions. As a result, TMT contributes a classroom of care that fosters a sense of student agency for which to imagine a preferable future.

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