Monday, September 21, 2015

Empathy Lesson

This has to be the most influential, positive discussion, student engaging movie clip I have found that has to do with empathy and several other topics (friendship, kindness, accepting others, and etc.).

I start out by discussing with the class what empathy is (standing in someone else's shoes, trying to understand another's feelings).  I also ask the class "Can we ever really understand what another person is going through? Why or why not?"

Then, I ask the class if anyone speaks Spanish and if any of those students started school not understanding any English.  I tell the class that this is their chance to understand what it may have been like for those students who don't understand English, because the entire video is in Spanish.

I tell the class to be watching for things that are happening, emotions, actions, and etc. because it can tell us a lot, even though we cannot understand what is being said.

I pause the movie right when Maria finds out about the boy being sick so that the students can observe the sorrow.

Questions to ask the class:
How did Maria have empathy for the boy?
Are there other people that showed empathy towards the boy?  Maria?

I turn to the paused movie and ask the class:
What is Maria feeling?
In what ways might we not be able to understand how she feels?
How can we have empathy for Maria right now?

After discussing the movie, I turn to the students who don't speak Spanish and ask them how they felt if they weren't able to understand what was being said.  Most answers are; confused, frustrated, weird, and etc.  I then ask, do you have some empathy now for our students that come to our school who do not speak English.

This lesson is interesting to watch the kids' reactions and can be very engaging for them to really understand what it means to have empathy.

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