Graduate project

Rituals, Roles, and Responsibilities Included in a Hmong Funeral: A Guidebook for Teachers to Better Understand the Process Their Hmong Students Experience in a Time of Family Loss

ABSTRACT
 RITUALS, ROLES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDED IN A
 HMONG FUNERAL: A GUIDEBOOK FOR TEACHERS TO
 BETTER UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS THEIR
 HMONG STUDENTS EXPERIENCE IN A
 TIME OF FAMILY LOSS
 by
 © Kirk Lee 2009
 Master of Arts in Education
 Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Learners Option
 California State University, Chico
 Fall 2009
 The number of Hmong families in Butte County has increased in recent
 years, which has resulted in an increase of Hmong students attending local schools.
 However, the community at large is still unfamiliar with the Hmong culture, especially
 the funeral ritual. When there is a loss in the family, the students need to take time off
 from schools or related activities. Without knowing these students’ family background
 and cultural custom, teachers and school staff often do not understand their students’
 roles in the grieving process during this time of loss.
 xii
 In the Hmong culture, the funeral ritual is a very important event. During this
 time of passing, all family members, including children are expected to participate. It is
 important that the Hmong students take time off from school functions to honor their parents’
 tradition, pay respect to the deceased, and offer condolences to immediate family
 members. However, as a member in the Hmong community, I have observed students
 take lengthy absences from school to participate in these funerary rituals, which have
 raised many concerns from teachers and school staff. This project is an attempt to explain
 students’ roles and responsibilities during the funeral rituals. At the end of this project,
 there are several recommendations teachers and school staff could utilize when they are
 confronted in these situations.

ABSTRACT RITUALS, ROLES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDED IN A HMONG FUNERAL: A GUIDEBOOK FOR TEACHERS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS THEIR HMONG STUDENTS EXPERIENCE IN A TIME OF FAMILY LOSS by © Kirk Lee 2009 Master of Arts in Education Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Learners Option California State University, Chico Fall 2009 The number of Hmong families in Butte County has increased in recent years, which has resulted in an increase of Hmong students attending local schools. However, the community at large is still unfamiliar with the Hmong culture, especially the funeral ritual. When there is a loss in the family, the students need to take time off from schools or related activities. Without knowing these students’ family background and cultural custom, teachers and school staff often do not understand their students’ roles in the grieving process during this time of loss. xii In the Hmong culture, the funeral ritual is a very important event. During this time of passing, all family members, including children are expected to participate. It is important that the Hmong students take time off from school functions to honor their parents’ tradition, pay respect to the deceased, and offer condolences to immediate family members. However, as a member in the Hmong community, I have observed students take lengthy absences from school to participate in these funerary rituals, which have raised many concerns from teachers and school staff. This project is an attempt to explain students’ roles and responsibilities during the funeral rituals. At the end of this project, there are several recommendations teachers and school staff could utilize when they are confronted in these situations.

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