Understanding the thoughts and emotions of others is a dynamic skill called social perspective-taking (SPT). Politicians, actors, trial lawyers, interrogators, salespersons, and police detectives depend upon this skill for success. A deeper level of SPT is called “empathy,” understanding or sharing another’s thoughts or feelings. This level includes developing rapport or communing with another.
If teachers were to develop a high level of empathy or at least STP, their classrooms would be transformed into active learning sites. Frustration would be reduced. Individualized instruction would be natural. Lesson plans would facilitate interest and motivation. And students would seize learning opportunities.
Furthermore, if teachers could help students to develop a high level of empathy, bullying would decrease and cooperation among students would increase. Students would gain a significant upsurge of useable knowledge.