“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler
Is greatness having credentials, knowledge, critical thinking, and all other faculties of intelligence? Yes! Of course! But in my opinion, it’s all to an extent. The people who deserve to get the word “great” as a prefix for their teaching capabilities should also be kind, empathetic, and have a focus on building a virtue-based community.
Alexithymia is a term that refers to the inability of some people to express emotions or to understand others’ feelings. On the contrary, empathy means the ability to understand another person’s perspective or circumstance whether you accept it as accurate or not. Empathetic people are usually curious and possess a desire to know and understand others.
Why we need to connect to learners
Empathy is integral in many human endeavours. It assists us in overcoming and respecting differences. We also use insight to build a more robust world view by forging new relationships and communicating successfully.
Empathetic teachers even have the power to stimulate it within their learners. In fact, when teachers are caring, sensitive, and responsive to their students, the learning environment is significantly enriched.
How empathy affects learning
Our students are at their highest capacity to learn and excel when surrounded by positive relationships. Modeling empathy in the classroom promotes such relationships.
Firstly, our students enter the educational institution with all sorts of concerns and problems. To restrain this, an empathetic teacher encourages nurturing and support and sets appropriate guidelines for a way for students to engage with each other.
Secondly, an empathetic teacher gives every individual student a framework to build on in which all thoughts, opinions, feelings, and differences are uplifted.
Finally, Teachers cannot expect to have an impression on intellectual development without becoming involved in their students’ emotional development. An empathetic teacher can create a conscious effort to develop a caring relationship with their students.
Three best strategies to be more empathetic
1. Empathy builds a positive classroom culture.
With the varying backgrounds of scholars entering classrooms every day, paralleled by a rise in globalization, it’s more necessary than ever for teachers to actively construct a positive classroom culture. Bob Somson asserts: “Empathy is the heart of great classroom culture.” Through empathy, the teacher can explain, students learn to understand each other, which comforts them into creating better friendships based on positive relationships of trust.
2. Empathy strengthens the community.
Empathy positions students to deepen relationships with their current classmates and other people that they know outside of the faculty. In our increasingly globalized world, these people may be coming from more distinct cultures and different socioeconomic backgrounds than before, thereby necessitating better-developed empathy skills.
3. Empathy prepares your students to be good leaders in their community.
Our students must be ready to empathize with those whom they lead so as to make them feel valued. This will strengthen trust between the leader and followers. As teachers, we must equip our students to be future leaders of our communities and beyond.
Empathy is an essential tool for both teachers and students to learn and grow socially, intellectually, and emotionally. Fortunately, a teacher who is empathetic can cultivate such a mindset in even young students. Make use of these three strategies every day to become a more empathetic teacher.