Narrative Education: Arts-Based Curricula for Identity and Empathy Development Open Access

Goeller, Bria (Fall 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/j098zc13r?locale=en
Published

Abstract

This thesis establishes a case for educational reform with specific emphasis on the power of arts-based educational efforts to develop identity and empathy in American undergraduates. It argues the necessity of empathy in an increasingly connected yet divisive world and outlines ways educators can better accommodate for and accelerate its development. Asserting the importance of cohesive identity narratives in dialogical interaction, it draws upon the pedagogical power of art, which is defined as creative narration, to help students develop and express their stories of self. This kind of preparation, it argues, equips students to forge connections within themselves and to others. To apply and test this argument, these topics were translated into a five-week identity-based art curriculum and taught to Emory University undergraduates. Through both theoretical claim and experimental application, this thesis outlines ways for educators to foster creativity, narrativity, vulnerability, and empathy within – and outside – the classroom.

Table of Contents

Manifesto: A Note to the Reader ………………………………………………………………………………….....1

Introduction: Structural, Semantic, Historical, and Cultural Context.……………………………..………. 3

Overview of Thesis………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

Operational Definition of Art……………………………………………………………………………………….....4

Systematic Sequestering of Humanities………………………………………………………………………....... 6

Hegemonic Preferencing of STEM-based Inquiry…………………………………………………………......... 9

Modern Necessity of Identity Development……..………………………………………………………….........12

Identity as a Precursor for Empathy……………………………………………………………………………...... 14

Pre-Existing Efforts…………….………………………………………………………………………………………. 15

Methodology………………………………………………………………………………………………………………18

Chapter 1: Well-Being, Connection, and Identity.………………………………………………………………. 21

Undergraduate Mental Health………………………………………………………………….………………....... 21

Connection and Well-Being……………………………………………………………………….……………….... 23

College as an Opportunity for Relationship and Identity Development……….………………............... 25

Approaches to The Self: As Narration and a Dialogical Process..………………….………….................. 27

Identity Rigidity and its Dangers……………………………………………………………..…….………..…..... 29

Identity Congruence vs. Coherence…………….………………………………………………………………...... 32

The Multi-Identity Thesis…………………….…………………………………………………………………….... 33

Stories as Windows to Potential Selves.…………………………………………………………………..…........ 35

Chapter 2: Empathy, Art, and Social Change……...………………………………………………………………36

A Disparate but Increasingly Connected World……………………………………..….………………........... 36

Stories as Facilitators of Empathy……………………………………………………………………………......... 37

Art Changing Identity Narratives……….……………………………………………………………………........ 39

Art Evoking Understanding.………………….…………………………………………………………………....... 41

Chapter 3: Translating to the Classroom……….……………………………………………………………….... 43

Curriculum Overview……………………………………………………………………...…….…………………..... 43

Selecting Student Age Group..……………………………………………………………….…………………....... 44

Student Agency and Input……….…………………………………………………………………………..…........ 46

Flattening Artistic Hierarchy………………………………………………...………………….…………….......... 47

Employing Interdisciplinarity……………………………………………………………..…….………………...... 48

Chaos Theory, Reservoir Elusion, and Socratic Discussion.………………………………………................ 49

Working Through Anxiety and Unpredictability……………………………………………………….............. 51

Embracing Complexity and Vulnerability…………………………………………………………………........... 53

Storytelling and Art for Identity and Empathy Development……………………………………................ 55

Appreciation and Affirmation Exercises…………………………………………………………………….......... 57

Synthesis…………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………….. 58

Conclusion: Ways Forward…………………………….……………………………………………………………….. 60

Challenging Convention………………………….………………………………………………………………........ 60

Changing Cultural Perception and Redefining Success Metrics………………………………….................. 61

Students’ Call to Action……………………………………………………………………………………………....... 62

Appendix: Curriculum…………………………………….…………………………………………………………….. 65

References……………….…………………………………….…………………………………………………………... 69

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
School
Department
Degree
Submission
Language
  • English
Research field
Keyword
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files