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Empathy boosts school test scores, relationships, and community leadership


Posted Date: 01/10/2022

Empathy boosts school test scores, relationships, and community leadership

COPPERAS COVE, TX (September 21, 2021)— The benefits of empathy in education include building positive classroom culture, strengthening community, and preparing students to be leaders in their own communities. Clements/Parsons Elementary teacher Elizabeth Wilkins set the tone and began instilling empathy in her students from the very first week of school.

Wilkins read the book, David’s Drawing by Cathryn Falwell, to the students. The book shares a child's creativity that tells stories of experiences of children. The story provides comfort and encouragement to children as they face the challenge of making friends in new situations.

“This was a great book for the start of a new school year as the students are often nervous to be in a new class with new peers,” Wilkins said.

The first graders were divided into small groups and worked together to create drawings from the story.

“I wanted students to interact with this text in a meaningful way such as illustrations or writing,” Wilkins said. “I wanted students to work together and learn about one another through drawing and I wanted them to interact with each other.

In the book, David draws a picture a of a tree that he saw on a walk to school. Many of his classmates wanted to add to his picture. Some students even added things without asking him.

“Teaching students to respect others’ differences and space and asking for permission and also working together and using kind words is imperative,” Wilkins said. “One of the biggest challenges was getting students to understand that sometimes we work alone and that’s great, but other times we must share ideas.

“They each delegated who would do what. I heard, ‘I think she can draw a rainbow better, so I think she should do it’ or ‘I saw him draw before and I think he should do it.’ They had full creativity,” Wilkins said.  “Through the creative process, students really were able to get to know each other and realize they all had more in common with each other than they thought. I also saw how they really used their manners. These skills can be used throughout life.”

Demonstrating empathy can also develop student-teacher relationships and school programs that intentionally incorporate empathy into curriculum have also seen better test results.

“As children learn empathy skills by communicating with their classmates, those skills will transfer to their lives in their community,” Wilkins said. “The deeper relationships that result from strong empathy skills have the potential to strengthen a community and build trust. The effects of community extend far beyond the four walls of my classroom.”

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Contact Information

Copperas Cove Independent School District
408 S. Main Street
COPPERAS COVE, Texas 76522
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Phone: 254-547-1227