Teaching and Learning Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to understand and share the feelings of others. It involves not only recognizing the emotions someone else is experiencing but also experiencing similar emotions oneself. This social emotional skill enables people to connect with others on a deeper level, fostering compassion, kindness, and understanding in interpersonal interactions. It allows people to resonate with the struggles AND joys of those around them, leading to meaningful relationships. It’s also a fundamental aspect of social cohesion. Practicing empathy fosters understanding and support within each community and society as a whole.

Teaching Empathy

Ways to support the development of empathy:

  1.  Model empathy: Model empathetic behavior such as listening actively to others, acknowledging their feelings, and showing concern for their well-being.
  2. Listen actively: Encourage active listening and showing concern for other peoples feelings.
  3. Discuss emotions: Help youth understand how different emotions may impact people’s behavior and actions.
  4. Encourage perspective-taking: Encourage youth to consider the perspective of others, especially those who may be different from them.
  5. Role-playing: Role-playing scenarios help youth think about how they would feel if they were in someone else’s situation and how they would respond.
  6. Practice kindness: Practice acts of kindness and to be aware of the impact of their actions on others.
  7. Volunteer in your community: Participating in community service projects can help youth develop empathy by exposing them to different people and situations.
7 Ways To Teach Empathy Infographic

Practicing Empathy Podcast Playlist

6 Ways to Improve Your Empathy
Host Dr. Monica Johnson describes the benefits of empathy, two types of empathy, and 6 ways to build empathy.

What Empathy Actually Is (And How To Teach It)
Steps to teach youth in a classroom or individually how to access empathy and practice empathic behaviors.

Empathy and the Nervous SystemA fascinating conversation about when empathy leads to emotional fatigue, chronic stress, and a poor sense of self.

How Empathy Works and How To Improve It
Describes mirror neurons, the science of what empathy is and tips on improving empathy in daily life.

Teaching Empathy Resources Playlist