“Roots of Empathy” Brings Empathy Back into Teaching
Empathy. It’s a quality we desire from everyone in the world. An ability to understand the feelings of others so we can console, communicate and strengthen relationships. In the U.S., one in four children live in poverty, which has been found to have a crippling effect on a child’s education. Children who come from impoverish families struggle to manage feelings of stress, inferiority, depression and envy. Stress alone has been shown to trigger cortisol, which creates a “fight or flight” response in the brain, inhibiting the ability for the child to absorb information and trust others.
The program “Roots of Empathy” looks to reinforce and reinvent the idea of empathy in schools. While before, empathy was a “trait” children learned in a textbook manner, teachers are now presenting empathy as looking beyond the surface and understanding what drives a person’s behaviours. Children who have emotional issues in school have in the past been sent to the principal’s office, as teachers were ill-equipped to deal with their issues. Now through Roots of Empathy training, teachers are learning ways to understand personalized approaches to handling emotional distress in students.
Sending a student to take a walk when he or she needs to release pent-up stress is now the alternative to sending a student to the principal’s office. This method also allows children to stay in class longer and improve their learning. The power of an empathetic mindset is relayed to students through a teacher’s lessons, with the idea that this kind of understanding will then be incorporated into daily school life.
A tailored learning experience is proven to have greater effectivity in schools and a higher level of student achievement. Sometimes when a student has very little understanding of their social situation, it is helpful that a teacher can at least help them understand their emotions. Roots of Empathy aims to achieve this level of understanding.
Source: Yes Magazine