Empathy in Learning: Why Should You Care?

by Pooja Mishra
on February 22, 2018

The educational institutions over the years have been emphasizing on academic outcomes and have become increasingly obsessed with it. Traditional school subdues empathy and focuses on grades, performance and scores. As a result, natural human traits of empathy gets ignored and there’s minimal focus on the 360-degree development of wards. However, test scores remain not the only way to grade students as educational institutions are moving away from only intellectual development towards emotional development as well.

Learning is typically affected by emotions a student carries and educators must connect with them to understand his/her needs. And the ability to understand others’ need is a soft skill which is crucial to build bridges between individuals & collaborate for progress. In long run, this ability gets transformed to equip students to outperform as professionals.

Why Empathy?

The advent of mechanization has a major impact in the way corporate world rates the skills. The employees are now required for selective tasks with technical as well as managerial acumen to handle business operations. They need empathy to understand employees and lead them diligently. As a result, businesses now look forward to empathy as a prerequisite while hiring employees.

Such eligibility criterion implies that empathy must be inculcated right from early years of education. The educational institutions must inculcate empathy as a part of a curriculum and include to make it a part of teaching strategy as well. This goes a long way in establishing a positive learning environment. Numerous studies suggest a strong correlation between learning and cognitive development. The strong correlation results in improved grades with better learning retention to help students to be better in achieving targets and over-shooting it.  

Advantages of Empathy in Education

Empathy is one of the most revered social traits across the world. It is a motivating factor for prosocial behavior which can make learners more receptive to gain knowledge and grow to become a socially responsible adult. Here are some clear benefits of integrating empathy in education:

1.Better grades

Empathy is a driving force behind much of human behavior, be it social bonding or learning, it results in the cohesive environment. In education, the cohesiveness encourages learning, enhanced retention, and better grades. John Converse Townsend aptly describes in Forbes, Educational Institutions which incorporate empathy as a part of teaching see better test results.

2.Broad foundation

Empathy involves understanding other’s feelings and deepens the relationship with classmates and others outside the school. It builds tolerance, acceptance towards different cultures reduces racial discrimination and aides peaceful co-existence. Relationships from empathy hold the potential to strengthen community and build trust.

3.Great leadership

Education equips school students to be future business leaders. Inculcating empathy as a part of curriculum enables students to understand others and guide them. Thus imbibing social understanding and leadership skills. A leader must be skilled in understanding the people he leads and shows that he cares for them.

Recent political developments like entry ban for citizens of certain countries by a world leader have made it all the more essential for educators to inculcate empathy in today’s children and leaders of tomorrow.


One of the crucial traits that effects learning in students is receptivity. Empathy encourages students to be open to other thought-forms, diverse theories prevailing in society at large. It makes students adept at learning and unlearning concepts rather than vehemently denying it. The openness to various schools of thought can pave the way to be better a civilized society than what we are today.

Wrap up

Educational institutions play a crucial role in the development of a human being. It educates, and nurture a person which in-turn shape communities. As a result, the training process must move beyond the notions of success and instill a healthy development for students. The institutions must focus on developing empathy skills to shape a caring, sociable, and innovative individual.

When students chart paths with empathy, they attain success at the individual level and positively contributes to the enhancement of society.

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