Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Teacher Support following Death by Suicide: An Autoethnography of School Counselor Experiences within a Rural School Community
by Farragh, Elizabeth A., Ed.D., Central Michigan University, 2018, 177; 13810980
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study examines the perspectives of teachers in a small, rural community and the influence of the school counselor who support students returning to school after a death by suicide. The researcher took an autoethnographic approach because of the years of personal and professional experience and knowledge within the professional setting used in this study. A thorough review of the existing literature in the areas of the conceptual frameworks of grief, theories of grief, theories of suicide, policies and culture of rural school communities informs the study. Data triangulation was used to understand how different data sources show consistency using the same method. Data triangulation contributes to verification and validation of qualitative analysis (Patton, 2015).

A purposeful sample was used to select recently retired teachers with classroom experience. Retired teachers were selected because of years of classroom experience and knowledge in the professional setting with students who return after a death by suicide. Criteria for selection of retired teachers within a small group of professional educators in a small, rural Midwestern community are comprised of retired teachers at the secondary level of public education. Retired teachers have experience as a classroom teacher, have worked with the school counselor and have experience with students who returned to school after a peer death by suicide or family member death by suicide. Retired teachers were selected that have good recall of events and experiences in the classroom.

This study is designed to understand school counselor influence and the perspectives of teachers in a small, rural community who support students after a death by suicide. Qualitative methods were used to collect and analyze data. An interview guide approach was used to increase the comprehensiveness of the data. Research questions were generated from an extensive review of the literature. Data were collected from the following methods: interviews, private anecdotal counselor notes, researcher reflections and member checking. Educational research has not investigated as to how teachers feel about their preparedness and ability to support students after a death by suicide. Lack of data from research on the role of teachers, the influence of the school counselor and their preparedness to support students after a death by suicide is particularly meaningful for rural school communities. Therefore, the need for this study is significant as rural school communities, researchers and those who experience death by suicide explore this phenomenon and the policy implications for best practice based on data that informs the research questions. Trustworthiness of data analysis and believability of the study assures transferability, dependability and confirmability.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Klocko, Barbara A.
Commitee: Kaczynski, Daniel, Lubig, Joseph
School: Central Michigan University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Michigan
Source: DAI-A 80/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School counseling, Teacher education
Keywords: Critical incident response, Death by suicide, Educational leadership response to death by suicide, Role of school counselor and grief, Student suicide loss survivors, Teacher support of grieving students
Publication Number: 13810980
ISBN: 978-1-392-03225-1
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