Empathy allows us to put ourselves in another’s shoes and understand their thoughts and emotions. For this reason, it is a fundamental skill in all spheres of life, although it is particularly relevant in the context of classroom. In fact, a truly empathetic teacher will know how to put themselves in the shoes of their students, they will know what motivates them, why they behave in a certain way, and they will understand when it is time to slow down.
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Empathy in the classroom cuts student suspensions in half
A study conducted at the University of Stanford and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that teacher empathy contributes to halving student suspensions.
These researchers conducted three experiments. In the first, they encouraged 39 teachers to adopt a more empathetic attitude towards their students, instead of punishing them for the mistakes they made. Some teachers wrote about how to be a good teacher and understand students and others about how to punish them and gain control of the class.
Interestingly, those who had the opportunity to express their empathy, more Later they showed a more understanding attitude towards the mistakes students made. In contrast, those who were encouraged to discipline opted for more severe measures to punish those same mistakes.
In the second experiment, the researchers They asked 302 students to imagine that they had caused a serious disruption in class. They then had to face a punitive and an empathetic master. The results showed that students responded more positively to empathic teachers than to those who immediately resorted to punishment.
The third experiment was the most interesting as it was carried out conducted with 31 math teachers and 1,682 students in five different California schools. Teachers were trained to develop a more empathetic attitude with students and maintain more positive relationships.
The results revealed that students whose teachers were more empathetic were half as likely to be suspended during the school year. Of these students , only 4.8% failed, while in the other courses s the suspension rate was 9.6%. The double! Interestingly, the rate of suspension decreased even among students who had been suspended in other courses.
If the teacher is empathetic, the students will be more motivated to learn
This is not it is the only study that demonstrates the importance of empathy in education. Recent research published in the journal Early Education and Development conducted in Finland showed that teacher empathy increases student motivation for learning.
This study indicates that teacher empathy is a fundamental tool to promote learning, even more important than the size of the class or the materials used. In fact, its researchers point out that empathy in teaching is particularly important during the child’s first years of schooling, so that they feel comfortable while they learn.
How to develop empathy in the classroom?
1. Learning Their Names
It may seem like a truism but some teachers, even after several months, still confuse their students’ names. However, the simple act of calling each other by name will make them seem closer.
2. Take an interest in them, really
Each student is a world, they have their own expectations, motivations, interests and problems. If the teacher tries to get to know them, he will be able to offer them a more personalized treatment and better encourage their learning.
3. Create an open space of mutual respect
It is important that students trust the teacher, if they know they can express their ideas freely and feel comfortable, they will be more willing to open up and listen to advice or teaching orientations.