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TEACHING WITH EMPATHY

Released August 2021

Whether it's planning and delivering instruction or just interacting with others throughout the day, every action you take is an opportunity to demonstrate empathy toward your students, your colleagues, and yourself.

"I'm already empathetic to my students and their stories," you may be thinking. But a teacher's actions, even unintentional and especially uninformed, can be implicitly shaming, compounding any disconnect students may already feel and undermining your efforts to create a safe and positive classroom environment. Rather than try to identify who needs empathy, start with the premise that all learners deserve empathy because it is a prerequisite for learning and growth.

In Teaching with Empathy, Lisa Westman explores three types of empathy—affective, cognitive, and behavioral—and clarifies how they intertwine with curriculum, learning environment, equity practices, instruction and assessment, and grading and reporting.

Through her own experience as an instructional coach, Westman shares tips and tools, real-world classroom examples, powerful stories, and even a bit of herself as she guides you to a better understanding of yourself and others. Ultimately, you'll learn what's possible when you let compassion and acceptance inform all aspects of your daily practice.

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STUDENT-DRIVEN DIFFERENTIATION

Student-driven differentiation shifts the focus from what students are going to do to what students need to learn. The focus also shifts from the teacher as the owner of the knowledge and the students the receivers of such knowledge. Student-driven differentiation requires teachers to find a healthy balance in their relationships with all students, use multiple types of evidence to ensure student growth, and partner with students in the process.

  • Shifts the focus from what students are going to do to what students need to learn

  • Requires teachers to find common ground with all students

  • Creates learning environments where students have control over their learning

  • Gives students the autonomy to create, learn, and grow at their own pace

  • Requires honest and mutually respectful teacher-student relationships

  • Students’ voices (collective and individual) are sought to craft the plan