skip to Main Content

Help, I can’t relate!

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is essential for Educators (Part 2) 

Did you ever wonder what it is like being in someone else’s shoes? 

Let’s Look at Empathy as a Characteristic of EI. 

Empathy is the fourth characteristic of EI after motivation.

Educators and parents high in EI understand their children and themselves. For the educating team members, having empathy is critical to their management success.

Empathy is the ability to put one’s self into someone else’s shoes as in understanding another’s perspective. It involves the ability to share someone else’s feelings and emotions and understand why they might be having those feelings.

Why is empathy important?

Because it helps us understand how others are feeling, so we can appropriately respond.

Researchers suggest three ways to develop empathy:

  1. Read.

Reading literary fiction helps develop empathy. Students express that when they read fiction, they escape to a different world. Identifying one’s self with fictional characters helps us relate to people whose lives are entirely different than our own.

  1. Listen.

Taking the time to listen to others is an easy way to understand how they think and feel.  Carefully set aside your own thoughts and opinions. Put away distractions like cell phones and background TV/radio noise. This habit helps us to intentionally listen. To think deeply about what another person is saying, give someone your undivided attention, which makes them feel like they are cherished.  It’s a win-win.

  1. Understand differences.

It is often easier to identify with people who are in our “in group,” who we think like us. Challenge this type of behavior by taking the time to understand others’ culturally inherent dynamics. Widen your circle and become friends with people with whom you might not ordinarily associate.

“We need to have empathy. When we lose empathy, we lose our humanity.” Goldie Hawn


Robin LaBarbera

Robin LaBarbera is an experienced educator, researcher, author, and international speaker. Dr. LaBarbera is the Founder and President of LaBarbera Learning Solutions, a consulting firm
focused on empowering leaders and their teams to harness the power of emotional intelligence to maximize personal and professional success. Before devoting her work fulltime to LaBarbera Learning Solutions, Dr. LaBarbera served for over 15 years as a professor of special education, where she earned the esteemed title of Faculty Emerita from Biola University, and she authored the textbook Educating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Partnering with Families for Positive Outcomes. Robin is a lifelong learner, with two Bachelor’s Degrees, two Master’s Degrees, and two Doctoral Degrees (a PhD and a DSW). She is an enthusiastic cyclist, runner, and Gigi to two grandchildren.

Back To Top
×Close search