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Adult Learner > Strategies > Building Empathy

Building Empathy

Overview

Developing empathy in educators and in learners is an iterative process that requires taking the time to understand and honor others' perspectives. Empathy is particularly important for adult learners as they may experience anxiety or apprehension in new learning environments. Empathetic concern encompasses educator behaviors that communicate a mutual sharing of emotions, feelings, or experiences with students. Learners who have trusting and empathetic relationships with educators show increased Motivation and academic performance. Educators can cultivate empathy for all learners through active listening, empathy interviews, and opportunities for apprenticeships and hands-on collaborative learning experiences. These methods help educators reflect on their own implicit bias and build trusting relationships with learners. Modeling methods of perspective taking and valuing learner feedback support the development of empathy between individuals, which can foster a Sense of Belonging, build Learner Mindset, and help mitigate Stereotype Threat.

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