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Teaching Empathy and Sympathy to Students

Icon30-May-2022

Teaching Empathy and Sympathy to Students; Empathy and Sympathy can be categorized as some of the qualities a good person or student should have.

Understanding the differences between empathy and sympathy can help you choose the most appropriate one given your circumstances. While empathy supports a deeper connection, there are times when a sympathetic response is more fitting.

To clarify, here is an overview empathy and sympathy and some examples of each.

What is empathy?

Feeling what someone else feels
Actively listening to what they have to say
Not judging
Being aware of nuances and non-verbal cues
Discovering their perspective
Acknowledging everyone’s feelings
Empathy is the ability to understand and share a person’s feelings. If you’re an empathetic person, you can listen to what someone else has to say without judgment.

This ability to connect is not limited by your own experiences. An empathetic person can feel someone else’s emotions, regardless of their personal experiences.

You’re able to discover their perspective with awareness of non-verbal cues. You’re also able to simply listen without feeling forced to provide unwanted advice.

What is sympathy?

Having thoughts about what someone feels
When in conversation, giving unasked advice
Passing judgment
Only noticing the surface level issue
Understanding only from your perspective
Ignoring or suppressing your own emotions
Unlike empathy, practicing sympathy doesn’t mean you feel what someone else feels. Instead, you feel pity or sorry for someone else’s feelings.

You feel bad for someone, but you don’t understand how they feel.

A sympathetic approach only provides a surface-level understanding of someone else’s situation. This understanding is typically from your perspective, not theirs.

Sympathy can also lead someone to give unsolicited advice to help the other person deal with their emotions.

When offering this advice, it’s common for sympathetic people to pass judgment. Unlike empathy, it’s still possible to pass judgment with sympathy.

In this article you will learn some of the differences between teaching empathy and sympathy to students;

1. It allows the students to learn the differences between the both:
Teaching empathy and sympathy to students gives room for the the proper understanding of the different concepts of sympathy which is understanding from your own perspectives and empathy which involves you putting yourself in others shoes.

2. It encourages them to be responsible adults:
Understanding the proper meaning of empathy and sympathy helps students to understand which of these two virtues are required of them in any situation and how they can also exhibit it in a diligent and responsible manner.

3. It encourages them to be good to people: it is a known fact that good people are kind, empathetic and sympathetic towards others, and instilling this knowledge in students will encourage them to also be kind and good to others even when they do not stand to gain anything from them.

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Author: Semira Ayeni.

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