Why We Need to Teach Empathy to Students

Why We Need to Teach Empathy to Students
Why We Need to Teach Empathy to Students
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As the semester winds down, stress levels at school go up and students and adults may forget how important it is to understand the feelings of others.

As the semester winds down, stress levels at school go up and students and adults may forget how important it is to understand the feelings of others.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy has the capacity to transform individual lives for the better while helping to bring about positive social change in schools and communities worldwide. (Edutopia)

Empathy is not innate, we must teach it.

Why is developing empathy important for children?

Building an understanding of what others are feeling, how their own actions can impact on others, and why someone might be experiencing feelings at a particular time is a valuable life skill for children to possess.

Helping young children to develop a strong sense of empathy is beneficial because:

  • It helps them to build a sense of security and stronger relationships with other children and educators, positioning them well for learning
  • It encourages tolerance and acceptance of others
  • It promotes good mental health
  • It promotes social harmony and can reduce the likelihood of bullying

Here are a few ideas and videos to support teachers and parents as we work to develop empathy in our students.


30 of the Best Books to Teach Children about Empathy



TEACHING POINT OF VIEW

Use the numbers 6 and 9 to teach students about different points of view. First, have students look at the number 6 and then the number 9. Explain to students that the idea for this exercise came from an old Middle Eastern legend in which two princes were at war for many years. One prince looked at the image on the table and said it was a 6, while the other prince said it was a 9. For years the battle raged, and then one day when the princes were seated at the table a young boy turned the tablecloth around, and for the first time, they could see the other's point of view. The war came to an end, and the princes became firm friends.


Brene Brown on Empathy


Child Friendly Version


Resources:

Goodstart.org

Edutopia.org

Parenting Science