Behavioral Shifts in Students' Awareness and Reactions to the Homeless
Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless
In attempts to foster empathy and altruistic responses among higher-education students towards, for example, the homeless and impoverished, a number of universities have been experimenting with alternative teaching methods than simple didactic instruction. In this study, we explored the reactions among 23 undergraduate students at a university in the Midwest that employed a required “poverty immersion” weekend as part of course pedagogy to instill personal connections and responses to the indigent. Through semi-structured interviews, we queried the subsequent behavioral responses of the students one month post-immersion. Specifically, some students reported involvement with urban services beyond the requirements of their course: a novel experience for some and a rekindled dedication for others. In addition, some students showed modifications in their spending habits, increases in charitable giving and decreases in frivolous expenditures.
Homeless, homelessness, altruism, empathy, higher education
Tse, L., Firmin, M., Johnson, C., & Vorobyov, Y. (2010). Behavioral shifts in students' awareness and reactions to the homeless. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 19, 98-128.