“Walk in someone else’s shoes.” Is this enough to teach our learners about being empathetic?
Cultivation of 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. We have two perspectives to observe in understanding empathy; one is response and another is perspective towards it.
There is a famous dialogue from Gregory Peck’s movie: “If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
For our Rahul International School learners, they learn Cultivation of Empathy through observation from their teachers and parents. When we encourage learners to become more empathic, we help them create more opportunities for success in school and other aspects of their lives. This valuable skill helps learners be more positive, productive, peaceful in life, skilled in communication, less aggressive behaviour and excellent academic performance.
Ways to Cultivation of Empathy
- Be proactive to notice and understand others’ feelings.
- Relate to the feelings of others around us.
- Care and value what we have.
- Manage difficult feelings like sadness, anger, and frustration. Express and display emotions to others with tact and diplomacy.
- Respect and value differences. Develop and express gratitude to the community around us to help and make life easier.
- Take a stand for others when the person is right.
- Listen closely to peers and adults.
- Navigate social situations ethically and fairly.
In the light of today’s situation where our Learner generation has grown with the internet and technology, they are already on a platform where they are sharing information and exchanging information rather than hoarding it. So they are driven by empathy to co-exist and ready for transformation to a new Educhange.
Cultivation of Empathy and academic outcomes research has shown a remarkable correlation between students’ empathetic understanding and their academic performance. Social skills demonstration has changed. Emotions and Connectedness are the DNA of human experience.
“Treat the patient, not the disease”, what this means is that learners must be seen as individuals with minds of their own, entitled to opinions, emotions, concerns and preferences; and not as “adults in the making”, “work in progress”, projects of future workers, future citizens, or future parents.
Experiences that spark their natural curiosity, inspire their efforts, grip their concentration, endow them with the joy of mastery, give them purpose, build their confidence, drive them to collaborate, connect them with others and with the world.
Ultimately, the goal for learners is to be happier, kinder, and healthier. This is not to say that who they become in the future does not matter. A child treated kindly, will become a kind adult. It is the natural consequence, but when it becomes the goal, the focus is no longer the child, the person in front of you. It is about teaching empathy and it is the most powerful avenue for building their sense of worth, belonging and purpose.
Mrs. Richa Kumar
Principal, RIS Boisar