Teaching Empathy Through Self-Experience and Diary Reflections

Abstract

To prevent any repeated human wrongdoings in the future, many say that people need to learn from our past mistakes. However, the question remains. What kinds of learning do we need in order to encourage a peaceful society? History teaching about wars to the young may not be enough due to the fact that there are still wars going on in many regions in the world. Therefore, teachers must find other methods to bolster conscience within their students. In psychology, empathy is one of the most useful techniques that helps create and strengthen human relationship. In addition, it is employed as the fundamental step in the process of peacebuilding. In this study, the author used the WWII sites and a visiting to Sangkhla Buri District Office, at Kanchanaburi, Thailand, as the location for the project. Eighteen students in the psychology major who volunteered for the project were assigned to participate in a three-day university excursion, while the author acted as the facilitator for the students. At the end of each day, the students were required to reflect their thoughts and feelings in the diaries. The author analyzed the contents of the student's diaries and the results showed that almost all of the students (94%. n=16) can develop empathy towards war victims, and that they can relate themselves to the trauma caused by war. Moreover, the results also implied that self-experience through the WWII sites yield more effective result in teaching empathy for students, comparing to the lecture teaching style.



Author Information
Chalalai Taesilapasathit, Thammasat University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2018
Stream: Student Learning, Learner Experiences and Learner Diversity

This paper is part of the ACEID2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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