Are Empathy & Learning Correlated?
Empathy comes naturally to humans. The human brain has mirror neurons that allow humans to recognize another person’s emotions by actually “feeling” them. Critical human traits from caring for the young to social bonding to activism can be traced back to empathy. But, recent studies have also shown a strong correlation between learning capacity and empathy. This is a development that schools should take note of and utilize to improve the climate in the school. Here is how empathy improves cognitive abilities and hence the propensity to learn.
Empathy counters stress. When students understand others and feel that they are understood, it creates a positive environment. They do not get into meaningless arguments or feel judged, and hence, do not feel stressed.
Stress is negatively correlated with brain development. It affects the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for memory, reasoning, and self-control. Therefore, it naturally has an effect on the learning abilities of a child.
Creates a Thriving Learning Environment
Empathy is a precursor to good behavior. Empathetic students do not bully and make others suffer. They also do not stand in the corner while others get bullied. They stand up to bullies and help others in raising their voices. No wonder that empathy leads to positive peer relationships, less conflict among students, improved communication skills, and holistic development of students.
On the other hand, students who do not develop empathy are unable to understand others, which can be linked to negative behaviors like interpersonal conflicts, aggression, emotional problems, and more.
A school that encourages learning empathy creates a safe and fertile environment for every student. Each student is then able to express themselves and grow up to realize their potential.
Maximizes Teachers’ Efficacy
Students and teachers are both equally important participants of the school system. Learning in a school can be effective only if its teachers are effective. A school that encourages empathy not only helps its students but also its teachers as well. Empathy helps a teacher be a better instructor. It helps the student understand what the teacher is trying to convey. So, it can be inferred that empathy is as good a teaching aid as any, and hence a potent tool for learning.
Can Empathy be Taught?
While all humans have it in them to be empathetic, only a few can or do actually practice it. Like any other skill, empathy can indeed be taught, but it requires practice. Empathy can unlock the dormant potential of a school. Schools should teach programs like SEL Adventures at school so that their students can learn more and excel in life.
Learn more about how SEL Adventures can teach students empathy by logging on to https://sel-adventures.com/en/programs/