WK1 APPLICATION ACTIVITY
The questions and activities below are derived from Chapters 1 and 2 of your textbook – “The Last Dance” (DeSpelder, L. A. & Strickland, A. L. (2020). The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill); and Chapters 1 and 2 of your required supplemental text – “Being Mortal” (Gawande, A. (2014). Being Mortal. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company).
Please complete this assignment in a Word document and upload back here as a submission. There are several internet links that you will need to access, and PPTS in the Course Materials Section of WK1 Content cache.
The questions and activities below are derived from Chapters 1 and 2 of your textbook – “The Last Dance” (DeSpelder, L. A. & Strickland, A. L. (2020). The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill); and Chapters 1 and 2 of your required supplemental text – “Being Mortal” (Gawande, A. (2014). Being Mortal. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Compa
CH. 1 Last Dance
View the following Youtube monologue and, in at least one robust paragraph, answer the corresponding questions:
What is misleading about the words “lost a child?”
What is misleading about the phrase “someone passed?”
Why turn to euphemisms when faced with the idea of death?
Why did Italian thanatologist Francesco Campione refer to death as an “existential problem?” Why did Robert Kastenbaum define thanatology as the “study of life with death left in it?” In one robust paragraph, and in your own voice, utilizing your own schemata (not the words of the textbook), explain your thinking:
Where do you stand personally with regards to your own TMT? In one robust paragraph, express your level of terror, or fear, of mortality. Use your own words, from your own schemata, but allow Ernest Becker’s “four strands of emphasis” to inform your answer:
Chapter 2 Last Dance
List and briefly describe Jean Piaget’s Four cognitive developmental stages. These are listed in the textbook, but I’d like for you to utilize the PPT that I have constructed for you on Jean Piaget, to allow you a better understanding of the stages:
Read about Jean Piaget’s Sensorimotor stage of Cognitive development (Ages Birth to 2 years). Since a child has not achieved the skill of object permanence (described on page 59), what would happen if you played and sang the traditional “Peek a Boo” song with this child. In one robust paragraph, explain your answer:
In Jean Piaget’s Preoperational Stage (2-7 years), what would be the child’s perception/reaction/conclusion if he or she was to view the Road Runner cartoon and observe the coyote having a boulder dropped on top of him from a tall cliff; or if he or she is to observe the Sponge Bob cartoon where Sponge Bob has an accident and breaks off his buttocks while sand-sledding? Provide your thoughts regarding this in one robust paragraph and also address how the child feels about the reversibility of death:
In Jean Piaget’s Concrete Operational stage (7-12 years), what does the child now believe about the cartoon scenes in the previous question? What rationalizations do children make in their minds for the coyote bouncing back up or Sponge Bob growing new buttocks? Describe your thoughts regarding this stage in one robust paragraph and also address how the child now feels about the reversibility of death. Additionally, tell me how a child feels a death around them affects them personally:
In Jean Piaget’s Formal Operational Stage (ages 12+), what is meant by the child is now able to “think about thinking?” How does “invulnerability” in the early formal stages influence the child’s perception of death? In one robust paragraph, describe this stage with these thoughts as a backdrop:
Choose a popular fairy tale or nursery rhyme from your childhood. Research the origin of it. Does it have a macabre backstory? Tell us about it here. One I remember well from my childhood was gathering hands with my playmates on the playground and spinning around singing “Ring around a rosie”. I am now aware of its interpretation. The children’s poem is describing the Black Plague or Death along with the traditional flowers, songs, and sneezes associated with its symptoms. In one robust paragraph, describe your childhood nursery rhyme, its origin, its mention of death, dying, illness, catastrophe, or adversity; Also infer as to the reason for concealing these messages in children’s stories subliminally; or if not meant to be subliminal at their inception, why allow them to continue through traditional child’s play? If you do not have one from your childhood, choose one from the internet:
Teachable moment page 73 – Read the story of the mom who discovered her eleven-year-old son making out his will on the computer. Observe the value in this teachable moment. Brainstorm an opportunity that may arise for you to take advantage of a “teachable moment” with your child or grandchild regarding the topic of death.
CHAPTERS 1 AND 2 Beyond Mortal
In your own words, utilizing your own schemata, provide a brief answer to each of the following question sets:
1. How prepared do you feel to empathize and comfort someone in the end of life stages and to say the right thing when that time comes for a loved one? What did the author of “Beyond Mortal” mean by “medicalized mortality”?
2. As a child, what was your understanding of the aging process? How was mortality discussed in your family? How do your family’s lifespan stories compare to those in the book? Should we shield children from the realities of death?
3. Have you ever seen anyone die? What was it like? How did the experience affect your wishes for the end of your own life?
4. What surprising facts did you discover about the physiology of aging? Did Dr. Gawande’s descriptions of the body’s natural transitions make you more or less determined to try to reverse the aging process? Do you think most people are in denial about their own aging? Do you find yourself drawn to books declaring “age is just a number” and “you can be young forever” mentality? Are these books helpful, or do they do more harm than good?
5. Felix and Bella had an exceptional relationship. Who was Bella’s condition hardest on? Why? Do you think you could be as loving and strong as Felix? How important is communication to you? When Bella lost her hearing, Felix hit a very low point. What do you think he would have done had Bella not regained her hearing? The assistants didn’t seem to understand how important routines were to Felix and Bella. What do you think they should have done? Do you know couples like Felix and Bella? The last days for Bella were so hard on Felix, but do you think he’d have had it any other way? Was there anything more others could have done for this couple?
6. What did Gawande learn from Kathleen and her grandmother, Alice Hobson? Did you read Alice Hobson’s story as an inspiring one, or as a cautionary tale? How did Alice’s experience contrast with that of Sitaram Gawande? How would he have been treated in America?
Being Mortal questions derived from the following site:
Jean Piaget Stages of Cognitive Development PSY… (2.33 MB)
Application Activity I – last dance and Beyond … (28.58 KB)