UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Studying effects of a web-based “bridge building” intervention Schalm, Melody


Although there has been a recent unprecedented global spotlight on issues of prejudice and polarization, researchers have noted that there is a dearth of rigorously tested prejudice reduction interventions. Certain theoretical and applied approaches show promise, including recent “bridge building” interventions focused on reducing bias and growing understanding across cultural divides. However, there remains a scarcity of research on “real world” interventions, including web-based and other mass media interventions and cultural competence training for leaders and others. At the same time, there is immense need for evidence-based interventions, including in the areas of post-secondary student and teacher training. This research study took a necessary first step in addressing these needs and literature gaps by studying participant engagement with a web-based intervention incorporating “bridge building” strategies of the University of California, Berkeley Greater Good Science Center’s Bridging Differences Playbook (2020). Study participants were teacher candidate students at British Columbia (BC) universities (N = 28). This phase 1 study examined the effects of exposure to the web-based intervention on teacher candidates’ (a) intention to use bridge building strategies in the university classroom, (b) comfort with engaging in classroom discussions with people who have very different backgrounds or views, and (c) knowledge of bridge building strategies. Results indicated statistically highly significant increases in participants’ intention, comfort, and knowledge after exposure to the intervention. Participants also provided positive feedback on the value of the bridge building strategies. Study results suggest that the intervention shows promise for consideration by post-secondary institutions for student and teacher training, and that it warrants further research.

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