Empathic Framing during Concept Development in Book Club Discussions in a Service-Learning Teacher Education Class

Authors

  • Peter Smagorinsky The University of Georgia
  • Lindy L. Johnson The College of William & Mary

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/lst.18853

Keywords:

Empathic framing, service-learning, sociocultural theory, book clubs, diversity education, concept development, Vygotsky

Abstract

This study investigates the emergence of empathic framing in a small group of university students’ discussions of equity-oriented concepts in a service-learning course. Empathic framing refers to the making of emotional connections that enable one to experience the world from another’s perspective, particularly when they are from different cultures, means of socialization, and life experiences. The study used collaborative coding for both concepts and empathic framing in six discussions of three scholarly books devoted to different equity concerns focused on the phenomenon of teacher-student reciprocal burnout, the differential experiences of affiliative or ‘jock’ students and disaffiliative or ‘burnout’ students, and African American speech and its political consequences. The findings identify examples of empathic framing in the six discussions, with most instances occurring in the two books that include narrative accounts of people experiencing oppression and inequity; the final volume, centered on textuality more than human action, produced a single instance of empathic framing recruited from outside the book’s contents. The study suggests that empathy can serve as a beginning point to concept development toward more equitable teaching and school culture, and can be available for formal academic learning when it is combined with worldly experience such as that available in service-learning courses.

Author Biographies

Peter Smagorinsky, The University of Georgia

Peter Smagorinsky is Distinguished Research Professor emeritus, The University of Georgia, USA; and Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Universidad de Guadalajara, MX. His research applies sociocultural theory to literacy teaching and learning and related issues.

Lindy L. Johnson, The College of William & Mary

Lindy L. Johnson is Associate Professor, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA. Her research draws on sociocultural theories of mediated action and social semiotic theories of multimodality to investigate the increasingly multi-modal nature of digital technologies, and the emerging social practices and activities that arise from these technologies.

References

Black, L., Choudry, S., Pickard-Smith, K., and Williams, J. (2019). Theorising the place of emotion–cognition in research on mathematical identities: The case of early years mathematics. ZDM Mathematics Education 51(3): 379–389. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-018-01021-9

Bringle, R., G. and Hatcher, J. A. (1995). A service-learning curriculum for faculty. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 2: 112–122.

Brown, B. (2013). Brené Brown on Empathy. TEDEd. Retrieved June 21, 2020 from https://ed.ted.com/best_of_web/BXaLcbG4#watch

Campbell, K. E. (2005). Gettin’ Our Groove on: Rhetoric, Language, and Literacy for the Hip Hop Generation. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

Castano, E., and Giner-Sorolla, R. (2006). Not quite human: Infrahumanization in response to collective responsibility for intergroup killing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 90(5): 804–818. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.90.5.804

Delgado, D., and Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. (2nd Ed). New York, NY: NYU Press.

Dietze, P., and Knowles, E. D. (2020). Social class predicts emotion perception and perspective-taking performance in adults. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Retrieved June 21, 2020 from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0146167220914116

Dewey, J. (1934). Art as Experience. New York, NY: Putnam.

Eckert, P. (1989). Jocks & Burnouts: Social Categories and Identity in High School. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Fyfe, E. R., McNeil, N. M., Son, J. Y., and Goldstone, R. L. (2014). Concreteness fading in mathematics and science instruction: A systematic review. Educational Psychology Review 26: 9–25. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from http://www.indiana.edu/~pcl/papers/concretenessfading.pdf . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-014-9249-3

Gee, J. P. (1989). Literacy, discourse, and linguistics: An introduction. Journal of Education 171(1): 5–176. https://doi.org/10.1177/002205748917100101

Gilligan, C. (1982). In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Griffin, P., and Ouellett, M. L. (2007). Facilitating social justice education courses. In Adams, Bell, and Griffin (Eds), Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 2nd ed, 67–88. New York, NY: Routledge.

Haidt, J. (2012). The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. New York, NY: Vintage.

Harré, R., Moghaddam, F. M., Cairnie, T. P., Rothbart, D., and Sabat, S. R. (2009). Recent advances in positioning theory. Theory & Psychology 19(1): 5–31. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354308101417

Holley, K. A., and Colyar, J. (2009). Rethinking texts: Narrative and the construction of qualitative research. Educational Researcher 38(9): 680–686. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X09351979

Hou, S., and Wilder, S. (2015). How ready is higher education faculty for engaged student learning? Applying transtheoretical model to measure service-learning beliefs and adoption. Sage Open: 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015572282

Immordino-Yang, M. H., and Damasio, A. R. (2007). We feel, therefore we learn: The relevance of affective and social neuroscience to education. Mind, Brain, and Education 1(1): 3–10. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-228X.2007.00004.x

Johnson, T. S. (2008). From Teacher to Lover: Sex Scandals in The Classroom. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Jung, N., Wranke, C., Hamburger, K., and Knauff, M. (2014). How emotions affect logical reasoning: Evidence from experiments with mood-manipulated participants, spider phobics, and people with exam anxiety. Frontiers in Psychology. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00570/full https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00570

Keltner, D., Haidt, J., and Shiota, M. N. (2006). Social functionalism and the evolution of emotions. In M. Schaller, J. A. Simpson, and D. T. Kenrick (Eds), Evolution and Social Psychology, 115–142. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Kraus, M. W., Côté, S. and Keltner, D. (2010). Social class, contextualism, and empathic accuracy. Psychological Science 21(11): 1716–1723. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610387613

Kraus, M. W., Piff, P. K., Mendoza-Denton, R., Rheinschmidt, M. L., and Keltner, D. (2012). Social class, solipsism, and contextualism: How the rich are different from the poor. Psychological Review 119(3): 546–572. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0028756

Ladson-Billings, G. (2007). Gloria Ladson-Billings Reframes the Racial Achievement Gap. Berkeley, CA: National Writing Project. Retrieved June 22, 2020 from https://archive.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/2513

Lamotte, M. (2014). Rebels without a pause: Hip-hop and resistance in the city. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(2): 686–694. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.12087

LeCompte, M. D., and Dworkin, A. G. (1991). Giving up on School: Student Dropouts and Teacher Burnouts. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Lee, R., and Ahtone, T. (2020, March 30). Land-grab universities: Expropriated Indigenous land is the foundation of the land-grant university system. High Country News. https://www.hcn.org/issues/52.4/indigenous-affairs-education-land-grab-universities

Lickona, T. (1999). Character education: Seven crucial issues. Action in Teacher Education 20(4): 77–84. https://doi.org/10.1080/01626620.1999.10462937

Marshall, J. D., Smagorinsky, P., and Smith, M. W. (1995). The Language of Interpretation: Patterns of Discourse in Discussions of Literature. NCTE Research Report No. 27. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

O’Donnell-Allen, C. (2006). The Book Club Companion: Fostering Strategic Readers in the Secondary Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Rosenblatt, L. M. (1978). The Reader, the Text, the Poem: The Transactional Theory of the Literary Work. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Shweder, R. A. (1991). Thinking Through Cultures: Expeditions in Cultural Psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Skelton, C., and Francis, B. (2009). Feminism and ‘The Schooling Scandal.’ New York, NY: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203884331

Smagorinsky, P. (2001). If meaning is constructed, what is it made from?: Toward a cultural theory of reading. Review of Educational Research, 71, 133–169.

Smagorinsky, P. (2002). Teaching English through Principled Practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Smagorinsky, P. (2008). The method section as conceptual epicenter in constructing social science research reports. Written Communication, 25, 389–411. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088308317815

Smagorinsky, P. (2011a). Service-learning as a vehicle for examining assumptions about culture and education. In A. Honigsfeld and A. Cohan (Eds.), Breaking the Mold of School Instruction and Organization: Preservice and Inservice Teacher Education (pp. 65–74). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Smagorinsky, P. (2011b). Vygotsky’s stage theory: The psychology of art and the actor under the direction of perezhivanie. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 18, 319–341.

Smagorinsky, P. (2014). Service-learning in an alternative school as mediated through book club discussions. In V. Kinloch and P. Smagorinsky (Eds.), Service-learning in Literacy Education: Possibilities for Teaching and Learning (pp. 85–103). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Smagorinsky, P. (2020a). Learning to Teach English and Language Arts: A Vygotskian Perspective on Beginning Teachers’ Pedagogical Concept Development. London, UK: Bloomsbury. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350142923

Smagorinsky, P. (2020b). Neurodiversity and the deep structure of schools. Ought: The Journal of Autistic Culture 2(1), Article 4. Retrieved April 6, 2021 from https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/ought/vol2/iss1/4

Smagorinsky, P., and Daigle, E. A. (2012). The role of affect in students’ writing for school. In E. Grigorenko, E. Mambrino, and D. Preiss (Eds.), Handbook of Writing: A Mosaic of Perspectives and Views (pp. 293–307). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Sobkin, V. S. (2016). L. S. Vygotsky and the theater: Delineation of a sociocultural context. Journal of Russian & East European Psychology 53(3): 1–92. https://doi.org/10.1080/10610405.2016.1230996

Stanislavsky, K. (2007). An Actor’s Work on a Role (J. Benedetti, Trans.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Toldson, I. A. (2019). No BS (Bad Stats): Black People Need People Who Believe in Black People Enough Not to Believe Every Bad Thing They Hear about Black People. Boston, MA: Brill & Sense. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004397040

Van der Veer, R. (1987). Review of Thought and Language by Lev S. Vygotsky (newly revised, translated, and edited by Alex Kozulin). Cambridge, MA: The M.l.T. Press, 1986. The Journal of Mind and Behavior 8(1): 175–177.

Van der Veer, R., and Valsiner, J. (1994). Editorial footnotes to Chapter 14, The problem of the environment. In R. van der Veer and J. Valsiner (Eds), The Vygotsky Reader, 338–354. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Retrieved January 26, 2010 from http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/reader/

Von Vugt, M., and Van Lange, P. M. A. (2006). The altruism puzzle: Psychological adaptations for prosocial behavior. In M. Schaller, J. A. Simpson, and D. T. Kenrick (Eds), Evolution and Social Psychology, 237–262. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1934). Myshlenie i rech’: Psikhologicheskie issledovaniya [Thinking and Speech: Psychological Investigations]. Moscow & Leningrad, RU: Gosudarstvennoe Sotsial’no-Ekonomicheskio Izdatel’stvo.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.1037/11193-000

Vygotsky, L. S. (1971). The Psychology of Art (Scripta Technica, Inc., Trans.). Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press. Partially available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1925/index.htm

Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and Language (A. Kozulin, Ed. & Trans.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1987a). Thinking and speech. In L. S. Vygotsky, Collected Works (vol. 1: 39–285) (R. Rieber and A. Carton, Eds; N. Minick, Trans.). New York, NY: Plenum.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1987b). Lecture 4. Emotions and their development in childhood. In L. S. Vygotsky, Collected Works (vol. 1: 325–337) (R. Rieber and A. Carton, Eds; N. Minick, Trans.). New York, NY: Plenum. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-1655-8_14

Vygotsky, L. S. (1994). The problem of the environment. In R. Van der Veer and J. Valsiner (Eds), The Vygotsky Reader, 338–354 (T. Prout, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Original work published in Osnovy Pedologii, pp. 58–78, Leningrad, RU: Izdanie Instituta, 1935. Retrieved January 26, 2010 from http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/reader/

Vygotsky, L. S. (1999). The teaching about emotions. Historical-psychological studies. In The Collected Works of L. S. Vygotsky (Vol. 6: Scientific Legacy) (R. Rieber, Ed; M. J. Hall, Trans.), 71–235. New York, NY: Plenum.

Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J., and Fisch, R. (1974). Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution. New York, NY: Norton.

Wertsch, J. V. (2000). Vygotsky’s two minds on the nature of meaning. In C. D. Lee and P. Smagorinsky (Eds), Vygotskian Perspectives on Literacy Research: Constructing Meaning through Collaborative Inquiry, 19–30. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Zaki, J. (2019). The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.

Published

2022-03-23

How to Cite

Smagorinsky, P. ., & Johnson, L. L. (2022). Empathic Framing during Concept Development in Book Club Discussions in a Service-Learning Teacher Education Class. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 8(2), 206–238. https://doi.org/10.1558/lst.18853

Issue

Section

Articles