Tag Archives: relational teaching

Cultivating Empathy in Schools

There has been a lot written about the importance of empathy within schools. As an educator, being able to relate and connect with our students is so important because it allows the classroom to become a community; a place where people feel safe and valued. In a classroom or a school which is centred around empathy, students are unafraid to express themselves and try out new things.

empathy2In a 10-part journal series a school Principal, Michelle Hughes, from New York writes about her experiences in cultivating empathy within her students, teachers, and staff. Hughes speaks about the importance of not only cultivating empathy with the students, but with teachers. Here is an excerpt from the first journal entry:

Schools are a microcosm of the universal human experience.  I could choose (and much as I hate to admit it, there are times I wish I had it in me) to disregard the personal lives of staff and make the work of school my only priority.  But that approach would be contrary to the central ethos of the school, and it would no doubt relegate the cultivation of empathy and holistic teaching practice to the fringes of the classroom experience. To teach the whole child, the whole teacher needs to be considered.

 To read the journal entries click on the link below:



Why did you give me a happy face when I only got 2 answers correct?

As many of you are gearing up for the start of school, I (Clare) want to share one of the Happy Facemost inspiring talks on education I have heard. Rita Pierson is a high school teacher whose talk on motivating students was amazing. Her views are so in sync with many of our blogs that I wanted to share it with you. Like me, she believes that teaching is a relational act. In the face of standardized tests and prescriptive curriculum, she keeps her focus on the students. Her story of giving a student who only scored 2/20 a happy face on his test will bring a smile to every teacher. When the high school student wondered why he got a happy face when he only got 2 answers correct, her answer will surprise you. Her talk is only 6 minutes long but it is worth. I think teachers will find it inspiring. And every teacher educator should show this video to his/her student teachers because this is what true teaching is all about. Here is the link to the Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dilnw_dP3xk