Power of Empathy in the Classroom – by Ahsha Mohan

Every child has the right to a personalised education. To make this happen, the teacher should understand the importance of being empathetic; putting themselves in every child’s shoes. Here is a true story from Ahsha Mohan, an English Teacher who believes in building a positive classroom culture by imparting empathy.

It was an uphill battle for 8 year old Yugesh to speak in English. His parents were not exposed to the language. From his early age he had faced difficulty in speaking, reading and comprehending. Constant humiliation by his school teachers often made him feel low and inferior. He held himself back when it came to answering questions in the class. He never attempted to come out of his shell. Yugesh was unhappy receiving a lot of flak and it was quite obvious. This resulted in lack of confidence and low self-esteem.

Yugesh enrolled in our School of English (MyBeeClub) programme as part of his school curriculum. We found him facing challenges with listening, speaking, reading and writing during our preliminary assessment. I constantly made an effort to establish a rapport and developed a caring relationship. He started to respond and share his interests, fears and concerns. I acknowledged them with compassion and with an open mind.

Yugesh is a visual learner. The activities we created helped him visualise and practice the English lessons. We empowered him to come up with his own activities. This helped in establishing a strong connect. In about 6 months, we were astonished to see his improved self-confidence. He was making a conscious effort to think and speak in English. He turned out to be a role model to his fellow students by inspiring them to speak in English. The teachers, who humiliated Yugesh earlier, were pleased to see his transformation.

To open the relationship door, the teacher needs to understand the student’s world. If the teacher demonstrates a genuine interest in each student, we can make this world a better place.


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