Developing Students' Empathy Skills

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Bullying remains a serious problem in schools across America even though anti-bullying laws and/or policies to prevent bullying and protect children are enacted in every state. Recent studies suggest that rates of bullying may be on the decline, but according to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly a third of all students aged 12-18 reported being bullied at school.

Stopbullying.gov, a federal government website, lists four ways adults can help prevent bullying, including:

(1) helping kids understand bullying,

(2) teaching them how to keep the lines of communication open,

(3) encouraging kids to do what they love, and

(4) modeling how to treat others.

After staring at the list and reading the description beneath each heading, I came to the conclusion that a fifth goal should be considered:

(5) developing students’ empathy skills.

I truly believe that adults can help prevent bullying by developing students’ empathy skills.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  Research states that people strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' lives or others' situations. (Gallup’s Strengthfinder 2.0)  Gallup researchers report that while empathy is a natural behavior for some folks, it can be an area of lesser talent for others.

The good news is that there’s research available that shows (1) empathy can be learned, and (2) empathy can decrease bullying among school children.  In fact, studies conducted by Mary Gordon at Roots of Empathy, an evidence-based classroom program, have shown a significant reduction in levels of aggression and bullying occurred while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. (Source: Gordon, Want to prevent your child from bullying others?, Dec. 15.)

Knowing that teaching empathy skills in the classroom will help students build and maintain healthy relationships and decrease bullying at the same time, I encourage teachers to initiate a plan of action today! A dash of empathy goes a long way!  

 

ELA Writing Connection

Here are a few writing related activities you can use in your classroom as you discuss empathy:

1. Write about a time when you felt empathy toward someone else, meaning that you felt the same way another person did because you could sense the way they were feeling.

2. Write about why you believe empathy is important.

3. Empathy is a skill that can be developed through practice.  Write about a few ways you might use empathy to show care and concern for others.

Comment /Source

Jamie Geneva

Jamie Geneva is the Senior National Consultant at Shurley Instructional Materials and is a seasoned subject matter expert in the realm of English Language Arts.  Her career with the company began during the days of the Shurley Method binder, which was pre-1st Edition, and has spanned across three decades.  Over the years, her various roles have included teacher, presenter, state representative, consultant, manager, and most recently, a Shurley English Digital Assistant.  You might not recognize her face, but her voice could certainly sound familar.  That’s because she’s recorded Jingles, Q&A Flow Sentences, and other Shurley English content for many, many years. 

Jamie and her husband, Garret, live in the foothills of eastern Oklahoma. She loves spending quality time with her family, traveling, reading, cooking, and staying connected on social media.

Ms. Geneva received her B.S. degree in Elementary Education and her M.Ed in Public School Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. 

Taking the Lead: How to Build Confidence in Your Students

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One goal of using direct instruction in your classroom is to build confidence in your students as you model, model, model.  As teachers, we model grammar jingles. We model sentence classification. We model everyday to ensure our students can make English Language Arts connections with confidence.

But, why leave the modeling to just the teacher? Why not get your students in on the action?

 

Student leading her class in a Shurley Jingle.

Student leading her class in a Shurley Jingle.

Student leading his class in the Q&A Flow.

Student leading his class in the Q&A Flow.

Here, you see a student leading her class in a Jingle. Next, you see a student leading his class in the Question and Answer Flow. In each of these scenarios, the student is acting as the teacher’s assistant. The student is modeling, while also having the support of his/her peers. The student is building competence and confidence! 

It’s time to step back. 

It’s time to pass the baton. 

Who is ready to take the lead in your classroom?

Comment /Source

Cindy Goeden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.

 

Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.

How to prepare a competent, confident communicator.

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Welcome to Shurley English (SE) and thanks for checking out our new blog!  Whether you’re just learning about the curriculum or you’re a seasoned SE teacher, I’d like to invite you to come back weekly for some English Language Arts (ELA) discourse!

This week, I want to share a recipe for success that’s encoded in your Shurley English Teacher’s Manual.  It’s easy to follow and contains three main ingredients: knowledge, skills, and practice.  When mixed properly, the combination creates competence and confidence!  Allow me to elaborate.

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Competent means having the knowledge and skill to do something well. The more you learn, the more competent you become.  

Competence = Knowledge + Skill

Confident means feeling self-assured in one’s own abilities.  It’s a ‘state of mind’ increased by practicing acquired knowledge and skills.                                      

Confidence = Knowledge + Skills x Practice

 

The following tested and tried Shurley English recipe has been preparing competent, confident communicators for generations.  Make sure to follow it in your classroom!

 

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© Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc.

Comment /Source

Jamie Geneva

Jamie Geneva is the Senior National Consultant at Shurley Instructional Materials and is a seasoned subject matter expert in the realm of English Language Arts.  Her career with the company began during the days of the Shurley Method binder, which was pre-1st Edition, and has spanned across three decades.  Over the years, her various roles have included teacher, presenter, state representative, consultant, manager, and most recently, a Shurley English Digital Assistant.  You might not recognize her face, but her voice could certainly sound familar.  That’s because she’s recorded Jingles, Q&A Flow Sentences, and other Shurley English content for many, many years. 

Jamie and her husband, Garret, live in the foothills of eastern Oklahoma. She loves spending quality time with her family, traveling, reading, cooking, and staying connected on social media.

Ms. Geneva received her B.S. degree in Elementary Education and her M.Ed in Public School Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK.