Classroom Conversations on the death of The Queen

The death of The Queen presents us with a very powerful real life emotional experience to talk about with pupils to help them make sense of and process the events of the past days and coming weeks. Here are some suggestions about how Emotion Works can scaffold and support these classroom conversations between teachers and pupils.

Inevitably, the death of such a significant public figure will impact everyone emotionally in some way although there will likely be quite a variation of feelings among our colleagues, pupils and their respective families and communities. We therefore recommend taking an approach of curiosity and observation when discussing the events relating to The Queen’s death at school.

When using Emotion Works with pupils to discuss emotional events in stories and real life we do encourage you to facilitate conversations that recognise that people feel, express and manage their emotions in lots of different ways, and also in common and similar ways too.

The prompts on the Emotion Works resources will help you to facilitate such discussions with suggestions for comments and questions for the different aspects of emotion represented by the cogs. The Cog Model framework will also scaffold your conversation to help link the different components of an emotional experience together. You could share your own thoughts and feelings about the death of The Queen using the ‘Model the Model’ approach (see our Cog Curriculum Introductory Teaching Module) and then invite different pupils to share theirs.

Alternatively you could look at each cog in turn to discuss the different aspects of emotions and compare any similarities and differences in the feelings and responses shared. 

Use your level of Cog Model to scaffold your Classroom Conversation about The Queen
Classroom Conversations – Cog-by-Cog 
  • The TRIGGER is that The Queen has died (and potential related events such as witnessing the coffin passing, watching the funeral etc.)
  • The different EMOTION WORDS that might be used to say how people feel about The Queen’s death will likely be linked to sadness of varying degrees, and in which case the INTENSITY cog may be discussed here too. However, there may be other EMOTION WORDS that could also also be mentioned, so let’s be open to those too.
  • How people feel in their body when experiencing grief, sadness or other emotions could be explored in BODY SENSATION discussions
  • Noticing and talking about the overt expression of these feelings is a green cog / EMOTION BEHAVIOURS conversation.
  • Talking about how people are showing sadness may also overlap with a REGULATION STRATEGY discussion because the ways we show and express our uncomfortable emotions are often things that help us to regulate them too.
  • How we feel about someone we know dying might be INFLUENCED by how well we knew them or how important they were to us personally. Responses to a famous person or public figure dying will be shaped by factors such as familiarity, like-ability and respect for the person. In the case of The Queen dying, how someone feels about the Monarchy and the Royal Family might also crop up as something that can account for different responses. With older learners, such INFLUENCES could be considered during purple cog discussions.

A Purple Cog consideration for teachers at this time is to keep in mind your pupils’ personal experiences of death, loss and bereavement that could have a bearing on how they feel about The Queen dying and how they may respond to classroom discussions about it.

Please take care to exercise professional sensitivity when navigating and facilitating your discussions. If the topic proves to be particularly upsetting or emotional for any pupils, then be sure to adjust the focus away from a learning conversation towards a regulatory response or activity to help process and manage the emotion.

Classroom Conversation Stimulus

We often recommend the use of a photo, video, text or story with emotional content to provide a motivating stimulus for Emotion Works discussions.

Here is an example news article relating to the death of The Queen that you might like to make use of, although there will be lots of news articles, photos or other resources to use that you could select from.

We chose this article for possible Emotion Works / Cog discussions because the photographs show the emotional responses of people across different ages and genders displaying EMOTIONAL BEHAVIOURS that can be observed, discussed and possibly related to. They also show the REGULATION STRATEGIES of laying flowers and communal gathering.

The text could also be looked at and read using ‘Coggle Vision’ as an activity with pupils to identify any references to the different cogs in the main account and photo captions.