What prevents us from being empathetic?
In some circumstances having empathy for a person or an animal can be relatively straightforward. For example, when you see a dog’s tail wag when you come home, you can feel the dog’s happiness. The reason having empathy can be difficult is that our ability to empathize can become blocked. In this lesson, four common empathy blockers will be discussed: a lack of information, strong feelings of fear or anger, prejudice, and denial. Students will think critically about what can prevent people from being empathetic, and how they can engage with this information to become more empathetic themselves.
Students will be able to…
Identify at least three influences that can prevent someone from feeling empathy.
Explain how certain influences can prevent someone from feeling empathy.
Develop solutions to empathy blockers that will help people embrace empathy.
Check out our 100% free common core aligned lessons that teach students to be caring and compassionate toward people, animals, and our planet. HEART's ready to print lesson plans and activities teach ELA, literacy and math skills from Kindergarten to middle school to high school.
This lesson is from our new 2017-18 comprehensive resource guide Justice for All: Educating Youth for Social Responsibility. Comprehensive humane education addresses human rights, animal protection, environmental ethics, and the ways in which these areas are interconnected. Imagine a world where children learn to peacefully co-exist with one another; a world where children learn to respect and honor the environment; a world where children learn to protect the myriad species with whom we share this planet. Humane education encourages students to think about their responsibility to the earth and all of its inhabitants, and provides youth with the tools to make more informed and compassionate choices. By allowing students to learn crucial information and develop solutions for many of the modern issues facing our world, humane education promises to usher in a global community that is prepared to make the planet a more peaceful and sustainable place.
Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART) and the Peace Learning Center have partnered to create this resource guide to help educate youth for social responsibility. HEART’s mission is to foster compassion and respect toward all living beings and the environment. As a full service humane education provider in New York City, Chicago, Indianapolis and Portland Oregon, HEART conducts student programs (in-school, after-school and in summer camps), offers professional development workshops for teachers both nationally and internationally, develops educational resources, and advocates for humane education. The Peace Learning Center educates, inspires and empowers people to live peacefully. It has served more than 200,000 people since its inception in 1997. Growing worldwide, Peace Learning Center now has programs in eight USA cities and five countries.
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