Bringing Empathy into Your Classroom

flickr photo by Weird Beard shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Edutopia recently curated several recent resources on empathy.

  1. Lauren Owen has a piece titled, “Empathy  in the Classroom: Why Should I Care?”

“I vividly remember sitting in my classroom with my teaching coach, ready to begin my second year of teaching. We were strategizing my vision for the classroom and for my students. Over the past year, the school where I worked had grown increasingly obsessed with test scores, but the more I considered my students and their needs, the less test scores motivated me.

“Lauren, what do your students need?” my coach asked me.

I paused. They need . . . empathy, I thought before saying it out loud. Shortly after, I had constructed my entire classroom around the concept.

That year, empathy became a central component of my classroom instruction. Given that I taught history, empathy naturally lent itself to discussions of varying perspectives about and intentions of history’s key players. The deeper our discussions went, though, the more convinced I became that empathy needed to be a central piece in every school setting.

3 Benefits of Empathy in Education quotes Tyler Colasante by defining empathy “as ‘the intrapersonal realization of another’s plight that illuminates the potential consequences of one’s own actions on the lives of others’ (as cited in Hollingsworth, 2003, p.146).” As educators, incorporating empathy into instruction can have positive results for your immediate classroom, as well as for the community outside of the school building.”  Read the rest of the post, including an excellent list of resources, here

2. Another post at Edutopia brings together videos on the importance of empathy, including Brene Brown’s excellent segment:

See the rest of the suggestions here.

3. A final recent resource on empathy in schools from Edutopia is Design Thinking in Education: Empathy, Challenge, Discovery, and Sharing. Check it out here.


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