Can empathy be taught? Is it “natural” in humans? Recent research shows that educators are looking for pedagogical strategies for increasing empathy and compassion in students.
Young people are in a particularly ripe developmental stage to develop compassion. “Empathy requires something called Theory of Mind,” educator Lara Mattox, Ph.D. says. “It is a concept that is developing in children ages 3 to 5 and entails being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes….Fortunately that’s not to say that those born with less natural empathy are doomed to have less all their lives. Empathy can be taught.”
Proving that anyone can grow into an empathetic person, the Open Colleges wrote recently, “as we get more educated, we tend to show more compassion towards others,” and backed up their claim from research on the volunteerism in adult students worldwide.