EMPATHY AS A FUNDAMENTAL VALUE IN THE CLASSROOM
After several months more dedicated to digital networks (usually known as “social media”), focused on spreading external information, we recover the posts published at the OveHum. This time we return with a topic that is increasingly present in debates and problems both in the classroom, as in the family and in society in general, empathy. In several posts we have included different aspects of empathy, including its human value against violence. For this post, we have the collaboration of Dr. Ingrid Mosquera Gende, assistant professor at the International University of La Rioja, who describes the attitudes of the teachers applying Empathy as a fundamental value in the classroom.
Empathy involves understanding the needs and feelings of others inside and outside the classroom, it is a fundamental value that can and must be addressed at the educational context; a value to develop with and in our students but, like the rest of the values, it must also be developed and implemented outside the schools.
In this sense, we should consider to what extent the media, the internet or even some parents (remember some recent and frequent events in football fields) are a good example for the little, or not so little ones, of the family. We must also recognize, not dodging the issue, there are shameful examples of teachers who carry dubious values to the classroom.
EMPATHY IS A FUNDAMENTAL VALUE FEATURED WITHIN GLOBAL COMPETITION
But let’s stay with the positive, with the majority, with a hopeful vision towards the development of global competition recently marked by the OECD and included in PISA reports. The so-called soft skills, are increasingly acquiring a greater role, considered to be needed in the educational environment.
Empathy is part of Gardner’s multiple intelligences, included in his interpersonal intelligence, and is a fundamental element of Goleman’s emotional intelligence. This value can be reflected in very diverse ways in the classroom, contributing to its understanding:
–It is helping to understand those who are in need.
–It is to collaborate.
–It is to support and encourage those who are sad.
–It is to understand the feelings of others.
–It is to offer to the one who has least.
EMPATHY IS FRIENDSHIP, RESPECT, TOLERANCE AND LOVE
-It is to be able to put yourself in the place of the other.
–It is sharing.
–It is to teach the little ones.
-It is helping to do homework.
-It is wanting others to have the same opportunities and the same education.
-It is helping to move around the school to those who have difficulties.
-It is friendship, respect, tolerance and love for all living beings.
COOPERATIVE LEARNING, PROJECTS AND SERVICE LEARNING ARE GREAT METHODOLOGICAL ALLIES OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF EMPATHY
To contribute to that empathic feeling, to put yourself in the place of others, there are methodologies and techniques that are especially interesting, such as cooperative work in heterogeneous groups (which allows to learn from each other and to help each other), project work and, especially, within this, service learning, maximum expression of a methodology focused on the community, solidarity and practical understanding of the usefulness of learning.
In addition, there are many audiovisual resources, games and activities that can help us awaken the empathy in our students. Remember, in any case, that always, for them, we are their models, this is a core idea that we should always bear in mind:
– Let’s care emotionally for our students.
– Let’s debate, with short films for the occasion.
– Let’s show them a sense of humor, with others and with ourselves.
– Relax the failures.
– Let’s highlight the importance of mistakes for learning.
– Let’s use games focused on conflict resolution.
– Let’s develop their critical thinking and active listening.
WE DO NOT ONLY TEACH, WE EDUCATE
– Let’s personalize the learning.
– Let’s stay close.
– Let’s listen.
– Let’s smile.
It is true that sometimes the work done in the classroom encounters ironclad and deep-rooted contradictions at home, having to fight against ideas and beliefs that may be very internalized, but that is part of our work. Let us not confuse ourselves, not only we teach, we also educate, and education in values is not learned in a textbook.
Author: Ingrid Mosquera Gende, PhD. Adjunct Professor at the International University of La Rioja.