The Effect of Comic Books on Historical Empathy in High School Students

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Justin C Saulter (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: In this study, a group of 10th -grade civics and economics students from eastern North Carolina participated in two weeks of comic book centered instruction to increase their levels of historical empathy. Historical empathy is defined as the ability to understand the actions of past peoples through their mindset as opposed to modern values. Research by Nancy Dullberg states that historical empathy can be measured in three levels (2002). At the first level, students are severely restricted and require a concrete connection to their personal lives to understand history. At the second level, students are less restricted but still require a personal connection. At the third level, students still require a personal connection but can understand more abstract historical concepts. During this study, students received comic books as part of their regular instruction in order to try and boost their levels of historical empathy. The design focused on students being taught a lesson using comic books every other day for a total of five times over two weeks. These comic books centered around the topics of criminal justice, civil law, types of economic systems, entrepreneurship, and supply and demand. During this instruction, students participated in a mixture of document analysis strategies as well as Socratic seminars. Additionally, students were interviewed between lesson days to determine if there was any change in their level of historical empathy.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
comic books, historical empathy, social studies, literacy, historical literacy

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