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Cultivating Empathy

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Empathy is crucial for building positive relationships and understanding other people's perspectives. In this lesson I used for grade 2 (7-8 years old), the students started to get familiar with this ability and its importance in our world.


Goals:

  • Students will understand the concept of empathy and articulate its significance in fostering positive relationships with others.

  • Students will develop the ability to recognize and label a variety of emotions in other individuals.

  • Students will actively practice empathy by imaginatively stepping into another person's perspective and empathizing with their emotions in various scenarios.

Resources:

Starter/Warm-up:


Call for two student volunteers for a short roleplay. Give each student a card with a description of a scenario and an emotion they need to portray without saying the word related to that emotion. Have the students perform the roleplay in front of the class, using their body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to convey their emotions.

After the roleplay, ask the rest of the class to guess how the other person felt based on their body language, tone of voice, etc.

Repeat the activity with two different roleplays and different student volunteers.

This activity allows students to practice observing and interpreting emotions, which is a crucial skill in developing empathy.


Main activities:

- What is empathy?

  • Define empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others (slide 1).

  • Explain why empathy is important (e.g., it helps us connect with others, promotes kindness and compassion, helps to solve conflicts, etc.) (slide 2).

  • Ask the students to think about a time when someone showed empathy towards them and how it made them feel.

- Practicing empathy

  • Explain to the students that empathy involves putting ourselves in someone else's shoes (slide 3) and imagining how they might feel. Give a couple of examples to illustrate this concept.

  • Divide the class into small groups of 4-5 students. Give each group a chart with a scenario. The chart should include a description of the situation and a list of characters involved.

  • In their groups, ask the students to discuss how people might feel in that situation and how they would feel if they were one of these people.

  • If we have time, ask each group to present their charts and share their ideas with the rest of the class.



Closure:

  • Recap the main points of the lesson.

  • Ask the students if they have any questions or if there's anything they want to add.

  • Thank the students for their participation and encourage them to practice empathy in their everyday lives.

Follow-up activities:

  • Practice putting in someone else's shoes during morning circles. You can share a story or ask students to share if they feel comfortable. After listening, ask other students how they would feel in that situation.

  • Reflect on the impact of our behaviors on other people's feelings through discussions in the classroom.


This lesson has a follow-up that I will share in future posts.

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