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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Use of Sociocultural Poetry to Assist Counselors and Teachers Develop Empathy for the Lived Experiences of Children of Color

Dr Michael Anthony Ingram.

As more and more students enter public schools from diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds, it is important that counselors and teachers develop cultural competence and empathy skills. Such skills require sensitivity to social advocacy paradigms and the ability to acknowledge the feelings behind another person's lived experience. Lived experiences are defined as the stories and narratives that people share about themselves and their world.

As a qualitative researcher, I have found sociocultural poetry to be a powerful medium with which to assist counselors and teachers understand the importance of empathy as it relates to understanding lived experiences.

I define sociocultural poetry as writings that address the social, cultural and racial lived experiences of members of oppressed groups.

I utilize sociocultural poetry in conjunction with a counselor empathy model. This model has six steps and focuses on identifying emotional words and the associated content. The goal of the method is to help individuals feel understood. Evidence suggests that individuals tend to communicate more freely with persons who they feel attempt to understand them. It can also be used with counselors and teachers to 1) develop empathy for the lived experiences of oppressed groups and 2) help them understand self in relation to the world.

Because this presentation will incorporate the recitation of poetry, it is my preference that the presentation is in a performance format of at least 60 minutes. This will allow for the poetry to be shared by the researcher. An important component in empathic understanding of lived experiences through sociocultural poetry is the response of the audience, therefore, this proposed format would invite audience participation and interaction with the presenter.


Dr Michael Anthony Ingram  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Counselor Education and Supervision
Oregon State University

Dr. Michael Ingram is an assistant professor in Counselor Education and Supervision at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. Dr. Ingram has also gained an international reputation as a performance poet (see cultural artist. He travels extensively reciting his works and conducting workshops on developing cultural competence and empathy skills through socio-cultural poetry.

  • Empathy
  • Sociocultural Poetry
  • Lived Experiences

(60 min Workshop, English)