Experiential Learning Exercises’ Effects on Students’ Attitudes Toward the Global Poor
By Robert Nyenhuis, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona and Joshua C. Gellers, University of North Florida
How do we, as political science instructors, ensure that our students become better global citizens? Can we help foster a sense of empathy among our students for those living in global impoverishment? Are there any pedagogical benefits in trying to achieve both of these goals? In our study, “A Development Diary’s Effects on Students’ Attitudes Towards the Global Poor”, we measured the effects of an experiential learning assignment for class credit on students’ attitudes. Specifically, we examined whether or not students better understood the underlying causes of global poverty as a result of their participation in a development diary. We found that students were less likely to agree that cultural factors matter for global poverty, and more likely to identify the root causes of global poverty to be an unfair global capitalist system, poor national leadership, geographic factors, and legacies of colonialism.
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