July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
How do we help students make meaning of their experiences inside and outside the engineering classroom? Also, how can we help students develop the skills they need to communicate their meaning-making and its value to others? The purpose of this paper is to describe a newly required course, The Art of Telling Your Story, for undergraduates in biomedical engineering at one highly selective technical university. In this course, students develop and share powerful stories of events that transformed them in some meaningful way. The course facilitator and students engage in joint dialogues around these stories that build self-awareness and that help them to see themselves as being entrepreneurially-minded. Preliminary findings suggest that students: 1) thoroughly enjoy the course, but more importantly, 2) develop empathy for their peers beyond the cognitive perspective taking-type of empathy employed in design thinking, 3) and develop self-awareness. In this paper, we describe the structure and evolution of the course, as well as our strategy for obtaining approval for this course becoming a requirement. We also describe the unique environment that promotes psychological safety among students so that they may fully engage in, and therefore benefit from, the course.
Two evidence-based theories underpin the pedagogical approach of this course: Qi Wang’s cultural dynamic theory of autobiographical memory and transportation theory. Wang’s theory posits that joint reminiscences of experiences (stories) among family members provides opportunities for parents to shape how their child frames those experiences, which influences how the child’s self-concept, that is, who they believe they are, as a person (Wang, et al., 2017). Transportation theory (Green & Brock, 2000) shows that stories, to be influential on a person’s beliefs, need to have certain characteristics that, when present, gives the story listener a feeling they actually experienced the events of the story. Our expectation is that story-driven learning, as enacted in this course, helps students create and share transportive stories that are capable of reshaping their self-concept as being entrepreneurially minded, which includes creating value for society. We contend that simply understanding what having an entrepreneurial mindset means is insufficient for shaping behavior; it is our students’ self-conceptions of being entrepreneurially minded is what will lead them to take actions that are driven by their entrepreneurial mindset. As such, we believe that this course facilitates development of the whole student and encourages students to work toward creating value for our world.
Morgan, K. L., & Bell-Huff, C. L., & Shaffer, J., & LeDoux, J. M. (2021, July), Story-Driven Learning: A Pedagogical Approach for Promoting Students’ Self-Awareness and Empathy for Others Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37730
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