Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration
EMPATHY MATTERS: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS ONE STORY AT A TIME
DAVID L. LAFRANCE
We all have a story; doesn’t it make a difference when we know them? As I get older and as I see my own children grow, I’ve noticed the fast pace we are living. Society has a self-destructive addiction to faster living and the world will tell you to always move forward and there are no limits to how far you can get. Don’t pause, don’t reflect. Over-scheduling and double booking as you juggle ten plates in your busy week. We are seeing an alarming increase in stress-related disorders at all ages, beginning with elementary school-aged children who are struggling with obesity, depression, anxiety, attention disorders, and all kinds of learning disabilities, and a list of problems for all ages (Brown, 2015). The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an increase in the number of socially isolated people and an increase in loneliness, fear, and other mental health factors (Murayama et al., 2021). World pandemics, the pace of society, and increased academic expectations have had an impact on our schools, and on the relationships students create when they have the opportunity to get to know one another. Our stories, when shared, make a difference to everyone who listens to them. These stories provide a space for us to build a relationship. In our fast-paced, performance-driven, ever-changing schools, we lose the time and importance of sharing our stories. The loss of time we spend with each other face to face has impacted our empathy with each other (Konrath et al., 2011). Is it possible to implement narrative storytelling that provides a place where students can share their stories to ensure that more relationships and empathy among a class would grow as a result? When we create an intentional space in our schools, will barriers be broken between students and teachers? In this study, relational data from teachers and an administrator who implemented a narrative storytelling curriculum, the Front Porch Initiative, in their school building were gathered using a survey design and analyzed. The findings from the study suggest students need a gathering place to reconnect with those around us and to re-establish a space for conversation, commonality, and community.
KEYWORDS: storytelling; empathy; relationships; conversations; commonality; community; Front Porch Initiative
LaFrance, David Lee, "Empathy Matters: Building Relationships One Story at a Time" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1681.