I may be swimming against the current here, but I don’t think empathy should be taught in school. But then I’m used to swimming against the current, being different. (I’m sure you can empathize.) So why shouldn’t empathy be taught in schools? After all, we want our kids to be empathetic. You won’t get an argument from me on that one. That’s not the issue, though. At least it’s not the issue for me. There are other reasons to avoid teaching empathy in schools.
I’m not totally opposed to the idea of teaching empathy to kids in schools, but it’s often taught to the wrong people. Many gifted kids, for example, are already highly sensitive and quite empathetic. Why do they need additional lessons in empathy? They often have a hard enough time coping with their intense emotions.
Some kids, on the other hand, need extra sensitivity lessons. We all know who those kids are – the bullies. It might help everyone to have empathy intervention programs for bullies. We know that some bullies have emotional issues of their own, but that doesn’t make their behavior acceptable. Let’s do more to help them solve their emotional problems rather than helping them see which other kids will make easy targets for their bullying. After all, when all the kids sit together in a classroom, it’s pretty easy to see which kids are more sensitive, making them easy to victimize.
In addition to the bullies, though, there are others in the schools that might benefit from sensitivity training. Those would be the teachers and principals who need to put themselves in the shoes of their gifted students. Some, of course, already understand gifted kids, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the majority do not.
If the majority of educators had real empathy for gifted kids, we wouldn’t have to listen to teachers tell us that our child will be just fine without any help, that our child should learn to deal with boredom since life is all about fun, that perhaps our child isn’t really gifted since he’s not getting straight A’s — or that we have nothing to worry about because he is. We also wouldn’t get “that look.” You know the one I mean. It’s the one that tells you the teacher thinks you’re just another one of those pushy parents.
If teachers were taught to be empathetic to gifted kids and their parents, it might not be so hard for us parents to get our kids’ needs met, and those include not just the academic needs, but the emotional ones as well.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/should-we-be-teaching-empathy-in-schools/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/bully.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/bully-150x150.jpgRants and ResponsesSocial Emotional IssuesSensitivity,Socialization