The Empathetic School

Carol Ann Tomlinson, Michael Murphy, ASCD Express, Mar 09, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Strictly speaking, 'empathy' is the capacity to feel what someone else is feeling. That's not how it is used here. The authors write, " An empathetic school asks everyone in it—teachers, leaders, staff, and students—to diminish some of their self-focus and respond in a fuller and more informed way to those around them." Expressed more fully, this means countering "'the deeply flawed belief' - often exhibited in the way we do school - 'that teachers and students are interchangeable parts, rather than thoughtful, unique, caring, experienced, and often passionate human beings.'" The article points to an ethical dimension to education. But it's not clear here whether education is at its core an ethical activity, or whether education is some other sort of activity (growing, playing, doing, whatever) that is informed by ethics.

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