In a broad search of the Basic Communication Course Annual, there is little discussion regarding student or instructor grief in the basic course. However, in our own experiences teaching the basic course, student expressions of grief are common. Grief is expected to be hidden or silenced, and is often not welcomed in the classroom (Hurst, 2009). Grief is unique to each individual; we can feel grief over a variety of losses, and there is no one way to cope with grief. Grief is not only an emotional but a physical experience, and it is not “a relinquishing of ties to the deceased” but rather an understanding of how you can maintain a connection and potentially grow through grief (Doka, 2016). Until now, the basic course has been reluctant to explore how grief plays a role in the educational experience. Grief is important to discuss when it comes to the basic course because many students and instructors have been exposed to grief through COVID-19, school shootings, continuous natural disasters, and so forth, or they choose speech topics that address these issues. Due to these issues, students often disclose emotions, leading the instructor to having to manage the student expressions. Prior research has emphasized that the student instructor relationship is inherently interpersonal (Frymier & Houser, 2000), therefore, this may lead students to feel comfortable expressing their grief in the classroom. However, it is important to have a better understanding of grief within the basic course since this is often the first place students engage with the communication discipline (Beebe, 2013) and is often a General Education course across universities. This forum piece will address the following questions: 1) How can the basic course focus on teaching, administration, and community when it comes to student grief, and 2) What approaches and innovations can advance the basic course through grief pedagogy?



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