Bridging the Gap: Emotions, Empathy, and Effective Teaching

In an exciting interdisciplinary collaboration, Siebel Center for Design’s Dr. Carrie James and Dr. Andrew Moss from the Program in Professional Writing joined forces to explore the intricate relationship between emotions and learning. The result? A two-part workshop series that delved into the heart of education, unraveling the complexities of student emotions and providing instructors with valuable tools to create empathetic and effective learning experiences.

Part 1: Tell Me How You Really Feel:

Assessing and Responding to Student Emotions

The first workshop kicked off with a thought-provoking question: What can we learn from students' emotions about the writing assignments we give? Hosted jointly by the Program in Professional Writing and the Siebel Center for Design, the session aimed to demystify the connection between emotion and learning. Instructors from various disciplines gathered in Sunrise Studio to engage in discussions, practice perspective-taking, and explore ways to respond to students' emotions to enhance the learning process.

The workshop addressed the crucial role of emotion in student self-efficacy, offering participants a unique opportunity to rethink their approaches to teaching. Attendees left with a deeper understanding of how emotions can be harnessed to support students on their academic journey.

Part 2: Empathizing with Students' Emotions in the Classroom

Building on the success of the first workshop, the second installment of the series took place at the English Building. The focus was on empathizing with students' emotions in the context of writing assignments. Instructors gathered to explore questions such as: How do students feel about the tasks we assign them? How can this knowledge be used to bolster their self-efficacy as writers?

Led collaboratively by SCD and the Program in Professional Writing, the session delved into the intersection of empathetic teaching, emotion, and learning. Through practical exercises and discussions, participants honed their skills in perspective-taking, learned how to respond to students' emotions, and considered ways to proactively design better learning experiences .

Both workshops were open to all instructors, fostering a cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas and experiences. By bringing together expertise from the fields of design and writing, Dr. Carrie James and Dr. Andrew Moss facilitated a space for educators to explore the nuanced connections between emotion, empathy, and effective teaching.

This joint effort of Siebel Center for Design and the Program in Professional Writing showcases the power of interdisciplinary initiatives in education. As the workshops concluded, participants were left equipped with valuable insights and tools to create classrooms where emotions are not just acknowledged but leveraged to elevate the learning experience for all.

For those eager to delve even deeper into the realm of human-centered design and responsive teaching, SCD is offering two 8-week courses starting Spring 2024. DTX 495: Human-Centered Design & Responsive Teaching and DTX 495: Design Thinking & Teaching Disciplinary Concepts are designed to further explore the concepts unveiled in the workshop series. This immersive experience will guide participants through the practical application of human-centered design principles, equipping educators to create responsive and empathetic learning environments.