"Empathy is neither a deviation from intelligence nor the single route to it. Sometimes we need detachment; many other times we need attunement. And the people who will thrive will be those that can toggle between the two. As we've seen again and again, the Conceptual Age requires androgynous minds" -Daniel Pink
All About Empathy

 As defined by Pink, empathy is many things:

*The ability to imagine yourself in someone else's position and to intuit what that person is feeling.

*The ability to stand in others' shoes, to see with their eyes, and to feel with their hearts.

*It isn't sympathy (feeling bad for someone else).

*It is feeling with someone else, sensing what it would be like to be that person.

*Allows us to see the other side of an argument, comfort someone in distress, and bite our lip instead of muttering something snide.

*Mostly non-verbal (facial expressions, bodily cues, etc.)

*A universal language that connects us beyond country or culture.

* A right-brain skill

"To empathize you need some degree of attachment in order to recognize that you are interacting with a person, not an object, but a person with feelings, and whose feelings affect your own".

Empathy involves:
1.  Inexactness
2. Attention to the larger picture
3. Context
4. No expectation of lawfulness

What Does Empathy Mean to Me in the Classroom?

    Pink gives an example in the book of two different physicians treating two different postal workers and their different outcomes.  One physician did not have empathy, did not listen to the patients concerns of having been infected by anthrax, misdiagnosed him and a couple of days later the patient died of guess what?  Anthrax.  The other physician who treated the second postal worker (at a separate facility in the same area) had empathy and although was skeptical, kept the patient overnight for observations and saved the patient's life.  Although this is an example in the medicinal field, there are huge implications for the teaching field as well.  Parallel to doctor and patient are teacher and student.  The difference between student outcomes in classrooms in which the teacher has empathy and teaches it, with the classrooms in which the teachers do not have empathy nor teach it is significant.  I will be the teacher that has empathy and teaches it, because I believe one of the most important jobs we have as educators is to help students build themselves and their identity, as well as foster and develop their learning and education.  One thing that many of our students, our classrooms, our schools, our communities, our society in general lacks is an understanding of one another and different cultures, background, ethnicities, etc. and I would argue that a HUGE part of that is lack of empathy.  If we can't put ourselves in one another's shoes, how can we truly understand one another?  I believe that it is our job as educators to not only have empathy ourselves to understand our students better, but to also foster the development of empathy in our students.

Empathy Portfolio

1. Test Yourself
    -Empathy Quotient (EQ)-Do you have a
    female brain?  tinyurl.com/dbsd8
    -Spot the fake smile tinyurl.com/2u7sh
    -Mind in the Eyes Test-Tests your ability
    to identify a facial expression from only
    a person's eyes tinyurl.com/ckrj3
    -Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional
    Intelligence Test
-most widely respected
    emotional intelligence test, but it is not
    free  www.emotionalintelligencencemhs.com/MSCEIT.h

2. Study Eckman
    -He's the worlds leading expert on facial
    -Book, Emotions Revealed-overview of
    the science of expressions, gives
    techniques to decipher emotions on
    someone else's face.
    -Earlier book, Telling Lies-explains how
    to detect when someone else is fibbing.
    -2 CD-ROM tutorials-Micro Expression
    Training Tool and Subtle Expression
    Training Tool

3. Eavesdrop
    -A powerful way to develop greater
    powers of empathy
    -The point is to listen and imagine
    yourself as one of those people in that
    -Ask yourself, "What are you
    thinking or feeling at that moment?"
    "What emotions, if any, are coursing
    through your body?"  "How did you end
    up in this particular place at this                particular time?"
    -A variation-Listen to a conversation
    without looking at the people who are
    talking.  Then guess who the people
    are--their ages, their ethnicities, their
    clothing style.  Then turn around to see
    how accurate you are.  You might be

4.  Play "Whose Life?"
-Ask someone to lend you her purse,
    briefcase, or backpack (have her remove
    anything that bears her name).
    -Gather a group of five or six other
    people and review the contents, without
    knowing who the person is, to try to
    determine what sort of life--personal,
    professional, emotional--the person lives.
    -Pick through the artifacts like a purse-
    snatching archaeologist--and you can
    really begin to imagine what it's like to
    be that person.

5.  Empathize on the Job
    -A Day in the Life-Have each participant
    write her name on a piece of flipchart
    paper and then list four categories: my
    highs, my lows, my frustrations, my
    rewards.  Post all of these sheets on the
    walls then ask everyone to walk around
    the room and write what they think
    the answers are for their colleagues.
    Then everyone has a chance to explain
    what really are the answers.
    -How Did I Get Here?-Two people pair
    up and tell the story of how they got
    where they are today.  Each partner
    relates their own story, listen's to their
    partner's story, and then retells their
    partner's story to the whole group.  Are
    there any common themes?

6.  Take an Acting Class
-Actors try to inhabit the mind and
    heart of another person--and that makes
    acting a great way to understand
    emotion and emotional expression.

7.  Get Mind Reading
-CD-ROM, tutorial on how to read

8.  Don't Outsource Your Empathy
-Create your own cards for various
    occasions (kids do this all the time!)
    -Can do in on word processor or even
    better, by hand!
    -"Anybody can grab a mass-produced
    card along with the week's groceries.  It
    takes a special person to spend the time
    really thinking about what message to
    send and how best to convey it"

9.  Volunteer
-In your community that serves people
    whose experiences are far different
    from your own (strengthens empathy).
    -Combine volunteer work with vacation
         -Global volunteers:                                          www.globalvolunteers.org
        -Cross Cultural Solutions
        -Transitions Abroad
        -Break Away (spring break alternative
        for college students)

Sherilyn Crawford,
Oct 16, 2011, 1:34 PM
Sherilyn Crawford,
Oct 16, 2011, 1:53 PM
Sherilyn Crawford,
Oct 16, 2011, 1:43 PM