Teach students empathy

Letters to the Editor

Teach students empathy

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


Dear Editor,

In light of the increasing number of incidents of physical altercations in our schools it is important that we consider teaching our children empathy. Such instruction must be explicit and consistent.

For one hour per week guidance counsellors and other trained personnel should teach students critical empathy skills. These skills and related content may be further integrated into other subject areas and, therefore, reinforced.

For example, in English literature, students may be engaged in exploring amicable alternatives to the violent face-offs used in resolving conflicts in The Young Warriors.

Schools in Denmark have been teaching empathy for years. In fact, the teaching of same was made mandatory in 1993. The results have been rewarding. Note that Denmark is ranked among the happiest countries in the world. Moreover, the country has consistently registered low crime rates and so it is also listed as one of the world's safest places. Even corruption is significantly low in Denmark.

Notably, Danish children start empathy lessons from as early as the pre-school years. This practice would also augur well for our children as, during the early, formative stages of development, are most malleable and thus more receptive to such instruction.

According to various longitudinal studies conducted globally, empathy instruction can help students to develop emotional awareness, tolerance, acceptance of self and others, and key interpersonal skills that can promote social harmony and connectedness.

We have to be more proactive in treating with the plethora of social ills filtering into our schools. Teaching our educators self-defence skills, equipping them with protective resources, or deploying security personnel to our schools is solely reactionary. This response may actually heighten existing tension and reduce our schools to mere battlefields.

Let us try empathy instruction. In the end, we are likely to produce happier adults and safer schools and communities.

Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock

Shawna201@gmail.com


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT