Compassion in the Curriculum: Exploring the Social Acceptability of teaching an Empathy Development Programme (EDP) within the context of New Zealand Primary Schools.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Empathy development programmes (EDP) are currently implemented in several New Zealand primary schools. Research has indicated a variety of potentially beneficial outcomes to these programmes yet a gap in literature is evident in New Zealand regarding the social acceptability of school-based EDP’s. As social acceptability of any programme influences its efficacy and sustainability, this gap in literature indicates an apparent oversight for the successful implementation of these programmes. To address this gap in literature, 68 students training for a teaching career rated the acceptability of a scenario which outlined a hypothetical EDP implemented in a hypothetical class. Results of this study indicated that students found the notion of implementing an EDP in primary schools highly acceptable. Using the same hypothetical EDP, 33 parents of primary school-aged children rated the acceptability of two different scenarios outlining implementation in two age-specified hypothetical classes. Results of this study indicated that parents found the notion of implementing an EDP in both age-specified classes highly acceptable, although implementation in the younger class was found to be more acceptable than in the older class. As suggested by the results of both studies, the degree of acceptability was related to participant perceptions of the programme’s goals, procedures and potential outcomes, therefore implying that these meet the social needs of the public.