Board game will help address death in school contexts

A board that includes investigative clues, cards with evidence, witnesses, and where the players are detectives hired to solve the death of a person is the basis of the “Morituri” board game.

The participants must take out their cards to configure a story that will serve, at the end of the game, for students and teachers to have a deep conversation about a subject that remains taboo in our contemporary society: death.

There are no winners or losers in this board game. It is rather an instance or excuse to start a dialogue about death and thus reflect on experiences that generally accompany it, such as fear, mourning, and the afterlife.

The project, developed by the academics Maili Ow and Guillermo Zamora from the UC School of Education, and the academic Mario Inzulza from UC Theology, is part of a line of research on death in the school context. This includes inquiry into the concepts and images that parents use to talk about death with their children, or concrete proposals on how to talk to little boys and girls about death using children’s books or biblical texts.

The investigation was published at the beginning of the year in the book “Where do those who die go?”, which is available in digital version on the website of Future School Library.

For Mario Inzulza, the pandemic motivated them to think about how to develop a methodology to address death in school contexts, since the health emergency made visible an experience that, although daily, is lived by almost all students during their school years: the loss of a loved one, or the death of a member of the school community.

In addition, the academic insists on the importance of involving the school in this process. In his opinion, there is a need to advance in research that concretely helps the conversation and reflection on death, taking as a starting point the experiences, perceptions, attitudes and concrete beliefs of educational actors.

“Because it is not easy to talk about death, we decided to collaborate in this conversation with pedagogical instruments that, in a direct and concrete way, help to elaborate one’s own beliefs and experiences around the subject. Talking about our duels or fears helps us and sister ”, he affirms.

Currently, the game is being developed in a pilot format at the Alberto Blest Gana school in San Ramón and its implementation will last one year. The academics hope to replicate this experience in more educational establishments to continue positively impacting and making visible the importance that school communities, in addition to offering a safe space to their members when someone dies, build vital stories where death and the meaning of life are included as part of student training.

“The school must include all human experiences. That is why death cannot be left out of the conversation and formation of students. The school, along with helping to contain painful situations of its members and being able to talk about them, must prepare and anticipate the conversation about death, integrating it into the training process”, says Maili Ow.

“It is true that many teachers may feel uncomfortable or unprepared to talk about it. But is there anything more important than helping one of your students to live well, even in the midst of pain, the death of a loved one? Can Is there something more significantly formative than this? I don’t think so”, he concludes.

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Board game will help address death in school contexts