Tuesday, June 15, 2021


(During the summer months, I like to take the A-Z Challenge and come up with words alphabetically and see how they apply to education. I think it’s a great exercise for teachers and students to give this a try.)

Empathy is being able to understand the feelings of others. Experts say that a child develops empathy around 6 years old.

I don’t believe that you are born knowing how to feel empathy. I believe that as you grow up, people make you aware of others and how they are feeling.

Many students might ignore the feelings of others and act selfishly. Whatever is going on in their lives, many students become selfish in order to survive day-to-day events. Selfishness becomes a defense mechanism and showing empathy feels like a weakness. I try to dispel this idea and explain that showing empathy will help them be more successful in real life.

I like to have at least one discussion a week to help students learn more about empathy. I share a story that has two characters in an emotional situation. I start off by asking the students which one they identify with and why. Then we talk about how the other person acted and why we think that person acted that way. We also brainstorm other reasons why that person may have acted in a certain way. It is interesting to watch them be surprised at the other possibilities that they had never thought about. The more often we do this, I see them becoming more aware of other people’s feelings in real life.

I think this is an important skill for students to learn. It will help students be more successful in school, on a job, and in relationships with others.

How do you teach empathy? Please share.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

No comments: