Connecting the Historical Lived Experience with Children's Literature: An Authentic Pathway to Empathy and Action
Young children often fail to understand historical concepts due to the lack of authentic instructional strategies employed in classrooms. For example, it may be difficult for students to comprehend the concept of slavery until it is put into a personal perspective. Slavery must be considered from a slave's personal experience focusing on one situation within the whole historical context of this involuntary culture. When identification with the "person" aspect of history occurs, empathy with that person can take place. Empathy leads to insight into the events of the past and brings about compassionate decision-making. The historical lived experience is a phenomenological-based strategy in which present-day children try to understand how one or more children in the past lived through a particular historical event or situation. The I-BE-IT Model that facilitates the lived experience is based on selected scenes from fiction and non-fiction books that focus on children who were once emotionally engaged in situational phenomena. This three-part model of pre-reflection, reflection, and post-reflection guides students through identification, bracketing, empathy, insight, and transference to support the creation of a personal perspective of a past occurrence. The workshop participants will engage in the I-BE-IT Model using an appropriate scenario on their authentic pathway to empathy and action. Working in small groups with selected books, participants will design relevant inquiry questions to guide their students on their journey through the I-BE-IT Model toward historical understanding, skills, and values.
Keywords: Lived Experience, Empathic Decision-making, Authentic Learning, Historical Understanding
Dr. Nancy A. Chicola
Associate Professor, Department of Elementary Education and Reading, Faculty of Applied Science and Education , State University of New York, College at Buffalo
Dr. Eleanor B. English
Professor in Graduate Teacher Education, Department of Adolescent Education, School of Education , St. Bonaventure University