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Displaying Historical Empathy: What Impact Can a Writing Assignment Have?

Sarah Brooks (University of Virginia)

Social Studies Research and Practice

ISSN: 1933-5415

Article publication date: 1 July 2008

Issue publication date: 1 July 2008

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Abstract

This study explored the development of historical empathy in the social studies classroom by addressing the following question: Does the manner in which students are asked to express their historical conclusions impact their ability to exhibit empathy? The results of two different types of writing assignments were examined in order to determine whether one is more likely to encourage the display of historical empathy: text written in the first person from the perspective of a historical agent or text written in the third person about the perspectives of historical agents. Data, in the form of student writing samples and interviews, was collected over a two-week period in an eighth-grade social studies classroom. The findings suggest that the way in which students are asked to articulate their historical conclusions can indeed encourage or inhibit their ability to exhibit empathetic regard.

Citation

Brooks, S. (2008), "Displaying Historical Empathy: What Impact Can a Writing Assignment Have?", Social Studies Research and Practice, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 130-146. https://doi.org/10.1108/SSRP-02-2008-B0008

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Publishing Limited

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