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Empathy Starter! An effective school-based bully intervention curriculum
Penny Pan, Technology consultant & Project manager
Innovation of Empathy Starter lies in application of VR to social emotion learning (SEL in short) for evoking empathy and perspective-taking. Most SEL learning in Taiwan is more like moral education and emphasis of peer pressure. Thus learners become indifferent towards those courses and admonishment. Our research concluded that It not only increased learners' motivation but also improved learning outcome. Comparing to those who had conventional class, students who used VR in class had stronger emotion and caused better learning retention even in 3 months after the class finished. SEL shall be personal and connect to one's own experience.
The purpose of the curriculum is to transfer what students learn at class to their daily life. There are 8 VR videos presenting 4 interpersonal conflict situations with 2 different perspectives- victim and bystander. For each conflict case, all student played victim first and then played bystander in the next class. Besides, when students play the role of bystander, there are 3 actions in the end of the video, e.g. they will help the victim, or they will join others to bully the victim. And students will see the consequences of their choice. Each VR video is less than 3 minutes and provides an immersive and single perspective to make students easily place themselves in the conflict situation. Also they will have a very personal virtual space about their feelings and thinking while viewing VR.