Can and Should Empathy Be Taught in Schools?
Posted by gtchatmod
In “Human Empathy through the Lens of Social Neuroscience”, Jean Decety and Claus Lamm define empathy as, “the ability to experience and understand what others feel without confusion between oneself and others.” They go on to explain, “Knowing what someone else is feeling plays a fundamental role in interpersonal interactions.”
Although there was not a consensus on whether or not empathy could be taught, the benefits of exposing students to the idea of empathy were seen as a move in the right direction. It was asserted that modeling empathy works best for some, but others agreed that it was a skill susceptible to training &enhancement programs; such as direct narratives and class discussions.
Teaching empathy can benefit the overall school climate and gifted students in particular. Infusing the school climate with empathetic behavior has a residual effect on co-workers and staff.
What are some ways teachers can model empathetic behavior for their students? Teachers should treat each student with respect and expect the same in return. They can model empathy by getting to know their students and practicing empathetic listening. One way teachers can create a caring atmosphere in their classrooms is by adding ‘empathy leader’ to student ‘jobs’. Another way in the early years would be to include examples of empathetic activities such as having young students share what they like about each other.
Finally, we looked at ways parents could extend the learning. First, they need to address their child’s own emotional needs and help them deal with negative emotions at home. Parents should seek opportunities to model empathetic behavior in everyday life such as using times of discomfort as opportunities to understand empathy; for instance, talking about a distressing news story. They should provide opportunities for kids to help others without a material reward … foster sense of doing the right thing. A full transcript of this week’s chat may be found on Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching Empathy: Are We Teaching Content or Students? from Edutopia
Creating More Compassionate Classrooms from Edutopia
Building Community in the Classroom Page from Cybraryman
Elevating Empathy on Pinterest
The Relationship Between Emotional-State Language and Emotion Understanding: A study with School-age Children (pdf) by Veronica Ornaghi and Ilaria Grazzani
Human Empathy Through the Lens of Social Neuroscience (pdf) by Jean Decety* and Claus Lamm
BLOOM 50 Things to Say, Think & Do with Anxious, Angry, & Over-the-Top Kids by Dr Lynne Kenney
Sesame Street: Mark Ruffalo: Empathy (YouTube 2:28)
Brené Brown on Empathy (YouTube 2:53)
Posted on February 25, 2015, in Education, Emotional intensity, gifted, gifted and talented, gifted education, gtchat, Identification, parenting, Psychology, Social Emotional, Twice-exceptional and tagged education, emotions, empathic, empathy, gifted, gtchat, respect, social emotional, TAGT, teaching, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.