Dementia education in a primary school classroom: a pedagogical perspective

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The World Health Organisation recognises the importance of dementia education across all sectors of the population, including children. Previous research has shown that dementia education in schools has positively changed students’ knowledge about and attitudes to dementia, however little is known about the process of learning about a complex condition, such as dementia. This paper explores how pupils learn about dementia through a pre-planned educational session in the primary classroom to improve our understanding of the pedagogical approaches required for effective dementia education. Using a participatory video approach, 23 primary 6 pupils (aged 10–11) used iPads to film their experiences of a dementia education session using a resource called Understanding Dementia: Class in a Bag. These videos, along with researcher field notes were combined to create analytical vignettes to illustrate the learning processes and interactions that happened within the classroom. Two weeks later, the pupils were invited to a focus group to view footage of the session and reflect on their experiences and explore the understanding of dementia. The findings highlight the importance of embodied learning within the session, particularly in understanding the experience of living with dementia. By understanding the session from the pupil’s perspective, the findings show how pupils developed an empathetic understanding of dementia through play and felt more confident about engaging with and helping people living with dementia in future. This paper provides a new understanding of the process of learning about dementia for primary children, as well as demonstrating the viability of including dementia education within school curriculums internationally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-492
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Early online date7 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2023


  • children
  • dementia
  • education
  • pedagogy
  • primary school
  • video methods


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