Empathy: Central to social, emotional, and academic achievement

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While it is true that empathy remains an elusive concept, there is however, a wealth of literature focusing on the importance of empathic skills in children for establishing and maintaining positive relationships and social and emotional development. Numerous successful programs have been developed to teach children empathy and compassion for other living things. The more recent and often controversial views regarding the place of "values education" in schools brings renewed focus on the crucial and highly desirable goal for children to empathise with others. Central to values education is the teaching of empathy skills and many educators now view empathy as an essential component for successful learning. Recent studies reveal improved academic performance in children who have strong empathy skills. This paper considers the various views on the elusive concept of empathy, explores the recent research in the area and speculates on the possible reasons for improved academic skills.


School of Education

Document Type

Conference Paper

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ERA Access