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The effects of empathy on support for Christmas music performance in public schools

The effects of empathy on support for Christmas music performance in public schools Despite an ever-diversifying student population, it is still commonplace for US public schools to present Christmas concerts. These concerts can force minority students to choose between their own religious convictions and school participation. For some students, participation in public-school Christmas concerts can damage their personal identity and assimilate them into ways of being that are not their own. This study aims to test a method for teaching preservice teachers to empathize with minority students.Design/methodology/approachUsing the framework of action research, the study followed a one-group pretest-posttest design. Participants (N = 19), all of whom identified as some kind of Christian, were asked to perform a concert featuring Satanic Worship prayers and a children’s Christmas song. This intervention was meant to induce empathy for religious minority students who feel uncomfortable performing Christmas songs because they are antithetical to their own faiths. Participants’ perceptions of public-school Christmas music performance was measured before and after the intervention.FindingsThe intervention effectively increased empathy for minority students. As a result, participants expressed altered teaching philosophies that were inclusive of religious minority perspectives.Originality/valueThis study demonstrates the effectiveness of empathy-fostering interventions as tools for teaching teachers to work with diverse student populations. The intervention tested in this study is of the researcher’s original design. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for Multicultural Education Emerald Publishing

The effects of empathy on support for Christmas music performance in public schools

Journal for Multicultural Education , Volume 15 (2): 12 – Aug 9, 2021

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References (33)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2053-535X
DOI
10.1108/jme-07-2020-0063
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Despite an ever-diversifying student population, it is still commonplace for US public schools to present Christmas concerts. These concerts can force minority students to choose between their own religious convictions and school participation. For some students, participation in public-school Christmas concerts can damage their personal identity and assimilate them into ways of being that are not their own. This study aims to test a method for teaching preservice teachers to empathize with minority students.Design/methodology/approachUsing the framework of action research, the study followed a one-group pretest-posttest design. Participants (N = 19), all of whom identified as some kind of Christian, were asked to perform a concert featuring Satanic Worship prayers and a children’s Christmas song. This intervention was meant to induce empathy for religious minority students who feel uncomfortable performing Christmas songs because they are antithetical to their own faiths. Participants’ perceptions of public-school Christmas music performance was measured before and after the intervention.FindingsThe intervention effectively increased empathy for minority students. As a result, participants expressed altered teaching philosophies that were inclusive of religious minority perspectives.Originality/valueThis study demonstrates the effectiveness of empathy-fostering interventions as tools for teaching teachers to work with diverse student populations. The intervention tested in this study is of the researcher’s original design.

Journal

Journal for Multicultural EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 9, 2021

Keywords: Christmas; Empathy; Public school; Diversity; Equity; Teacher education; Music

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