• The Wonder of empathy: Using Palacio’s novel to teach perspective-taking.

    Author(s):
    Louise Freeman (see profile) , Martha Guarisco
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    Education and Pedagogy
    Subject(s):
    Education, English teachers--Training of, Young adult literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    emotions and empathy, empathy, English teacher education
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M61T13
    Abstract:
    R. J. Palacio’s Wonder offers an engaging look at the challenges a child with facial deformities encounters when attending school for the first time. Told from multiple perspectives, the novel emphasizes kindness, acceptance of differences and the common anxieties associated with fitting into a social group. Narrative fiction has been shown to promote empathy and reduce stigmatization in both adults and children. We tested whether sixth grade students’ interpersonal skills changed after an academic unit that combined reading Wonder with traditional lessons in characterization, analysis and perspective, and an empathy-building activity led by a guidance counselor. Children improved on one specific empathy skill, perspective taking. Outcomes were identical in both genders, and unrelated to whether the children had previously read Wonder. This study highlights the practical benefits of literary study in developing both academic and social skills in the middle school grades.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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