Empathy and education

Have you ever thought that if somebody is not well, mentally and physically, they cannot enter the learning procedure?

Maybe we should change the way we see teaching and start dealing more with the well-being and cultivation of empathy in our students.

Some might wonder if it is appropriate to “teach” empathy and well-being at school. However, it gives the chance to students to be able to talk about their feelings, their thoughts, their ideas, to learn how to negotiate, how to compromise, how to assert. Besides, school functions as a miniature society, the first stage children have to go through in order to survive in the real world, when they grow up.

A good psychological state improves self-confidence. Children can express themselves with greater clarity, are able to explain what troubles them, can define the obstacles they face while learning, and are able to cultivate problem-solving skills.

School has to surround the students, show them the reasons why everybody is important and teach them how to be responsible. School has to embrace diversity, teach sympathy and empathy, cultivate social skills and encourage a healthy way of living.

Children, even from an early age, need to understand what it is that makes us individual, and that we shouldn’t feel bad if we are different. Understanding our own feelings as well as other people’s feelings, we are able to overcome prejudice, respect each other and improve the society we live in.

The teacher as well as the parent can get children involved with such issues, integrating them into the school curriculum (in classes like foreign languages, history, biology, etc.), but also in discussions within the classroom or within the family, following a film or a play.

Cultivating children in all aspects of society is just as important as mainstream school subjects.

The educational programmes of hyphen SA bring students into contact with a wide variety of these issues and through the STEAM projects, children are encouraged to discover their unique abilities and develop skills which will be their allies throughout their life, in every learning opportunity.

by Dora Papapanagiotou, Senior Educational Consultant, hyphen SA


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