Building empathy through a design thinking project: A case study with middle secondary schoolboys
Benjamin Dawbin, Matthew Sherwen
Shore School, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sue Dean, Samantha Donnelly
University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Federation University Australia, Australia
Adolescents' empathy is an essential socio-emotional concept that helps mediate friendships and family relationships. Year 10 boys, aged 15-17 years, were invited to participate in a five-day experiential education program (Design Week) based on a social equity challenge using a Design Thinking concept. Students worked in small groups, mentored by experts. Student groups developed innovative solutions to support women who experienced domestic and family violence. As a key outcome, students' empathy measured by the Comprehensive State Empathy Scale increased significantly from a baseline of 63% to 75% at post-test, representing a large effect size (d= 1.06). Six empathy subscale factors were also significantly increased (p= <0.05). The program was feasible and was rated by teachers and students as engaging, relevant to learning, and learning about complex social issues. This paper presents a case study of the Design Week program, shown to be worthy of further testing with secondary school adolescents.
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|Authors: Benjamin Dawbin is a Technology and Applied Studies teacher, Shore School, North Sydney, New South Wales. Ben teaches Design and Technology, and Industrial Technology, and is Master Assisting of Stage 4 in the TAS Department and is a new teacher mentor at Shore.
Matthew Sherwen is a Technology and Applied Studies teacher, Shore School, North Sydney, New South Wales. Matthew teaches Design and Technology and Industrial Technology. He is a product designer and entrepreneur who has founded two start-up ventures.
Sue Dean is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, New South Wales. Sue coordinates and lectures in Interpersonal Communication, Communication and Diversity and Communication for the Complementary Therapist and Women's Health subjects in the Faculty of Health.
Samantha Donnelly (corresponding author) is Scholarly Teaching Fellow, School of Architecture, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at University of Technology Sydney, New South Wales. Samantha lectures in architectural design at UTS and collaborates with the UTS: Design Innovation Research Centre, and is a PhD candidate at Monash University with the XYX Lab.
Dr Robyn Cant has a track record in teaching/learning research, and is currently Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Health, Federation University Australia, Berwick Victoria.
Please cite as: Dawbin, B., Sherwen, M., Dean, S., Donnelly, S. & Cant, R. (2021). Building empathy through a design thinking project: A case study with middle secondary schoolboys. Issues in Educational Research, 31(2), 440-457. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/dawbin.pdf