4 Full Proof Strategies for Teaching Empathy
Look into the world from the eyes of others, and you will experience a new perspective of life. Humans are the most dangerous living beings because of the extent of cruelty we are capable of. We justify our actions no matter how selfish and brutal the actions may be. Our linear thinking does not even consider the fact that we ourselves may be wrong.
What is Empathy?
Empathy is the capability of understanding the emotions and experiences of another person. It can serve as the foundation for the better relationship among two individuals, better understanding of each other’s perspective and enhance any collaborative effort. Over the years, researchers have divided this term further into two parts namely Affective and Cognitive.
- Affective Empathy means the capacity to associate with the thinking or feelings of someone else.
- Cognitive Empathy means the capacity to understand the reason behind someone else’s thinking or feeling.
Why should empathy be taught at schools?
It is one of the most essential things for a sound environment inside a classroom. Also, the success of each student is related to it. The doubts and problems inside a child’s mind are all rubbed off by an empathetic teacher. Bullying, racial abuse, gender discrimination and personal issues in school are some of the problems which Teachers are trained to combat against. Empathy ensures that such incidents are curbed and promotes a healthy relationship amongst the students. A structural strategy must be formulated by teachers to ensure the complete progress and development of an individual
4 Full Proof strategies of teaching empathy
Students should be taught that the way of thinking and opinions may differ from person to person and that the point of view of others should always be acknowledged. A famous example to make this understand better is the usage of the numbers 6 and 9. Two princes sat on a table front facing each other, and they were shown a number. One said that it was 6 while the other protested that it was 9. After years of bickering and arguments, they sat again on the table. This time a young kid turned the tablecloth around. They saw each other’s point of view for the first time and understood the reason behind all the argument. The two princes went on to become good friends with each other.
Act as a role model
Students need someone to look up to; Teachers are the ideal role model for them. The power of empathy in building relationships and increasing positivity should be taught in classrooms. Such views are in turn mirrored by the students in their daily lives.
Using Literature to teach about different perspectives
Teachers can pick out famous literature stories and novels to help students see a situation differently. The famous story of King Arthur is re-written from the point of view of the villain who is an arch enemy of the King. “The Mists of Avalon” focuses on the female power and how they use it to manipulate things instead of focusing on the Knights of the Round Table. Use other point-of-view centric fairy tales in your classrooms to explain your students the importance of having a broadened perspective.
Teach them to listen
A common hurdle in classrooms is that everyone wants to vocalize their opinion without even listening to what the other person has to say. Students should be taught that they need to be patient and understanding while conversing. Teachers can use the HEAR strategy for practical use of this point.
Ignorance in such an area results in the lack of development of a child. Empathy is like a skill, developing and honing it depends upon the teaching strategy. Most schools are more focused on the curriculum, use of technology and grades of the students. Likewise, empathy should be a top priority within the education system.