Abstract 2-Volume 6, Number 3, Winter 2011

In Another American Skin: Development of Empathy through Desktop Documentary Making

James E. Schul
Ohio Northern University


This article analyzes a classroom project that integrated desktop documentary making with an educational foundations course in order to foster empathetic development in pre-service teachers toward unfamiliar cultural groups.  The project required each tertiary student in the course to create a desktop documentary about the school experience of a cultural group with which they did not immediately identify with.  The findings indicate that half of the students in this project displayed empathetic development with regard to their chosen topics, using their encounters with imagery and stories to link their world with that which was unfamiliar.  Additionally, as a result of the compositional process, several students became advocates for their assigned cultural group, carrying this sentiment with them as they progressed to become teachers.  Implications of this study, including possible approaches toward improving this project’s effectiveness in achieving its aims, are discussed.

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