The Urban Review

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 395–419 | Cite as

Towards a Pedagogy for the Application of Empathy in Culturally Diverse Classrooms

Article

Abstract

Empathy is theorized to improve the teaching effectiveness of teachers in urban and multicultural classroom settings. However, the field has few models useful for training and preparing teachers to cultivate empathy as a professional disposition. This study examines the academic, behavioral, and social/relational interactions of four White female high school teachers with their Black male students. Findings suggest that empathy, as a professional disposition applied by teachers to negotiate interactions with students, requires two phases of implementation. Phase 1 is the acquisition of new knowledge. Phase 2 is the strategic negotiation of that knowledge and interpretation of student feedback to make the necessary pedagogic adjustments in subsequent student–teacher interactions. Implications for teacher education and professional development are discussed.

Keywords

Empathy Multicultural education Student teacher interaction Culturally responsive pedagogy 

References

  1. Almerica, G., Johnson, P., Henriott, D., & Shapiro, M. (2011). Dispositions assessment in teacher education: Developing an assessment instrument for the college classroom and the field. Research in Higher Education Journal, 11, 1–19.Google Scholar
  2. Argohde, V., Yalvac, B., & Liew, J. (2013). Teacher empathy and science education: A collective case study. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 9(X), 89–98.Google Scholar
  3. Aspy, D. N. (1972). Toward a technology for humanizing education. Champaign, IL: Research Press.Google Scholar
  4. Aspy, D. N. (1975a). Helping teachers discover empathy. Humanist Educator, 14(2), 56–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aspy, D. N. (1975b). The relationship between selected student behavior and the teacher’s use of interchangeable responses. Humanist Educator, 14(1), 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J. M. (1997). Observing interaction (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Banks, J. A. (2007). Educating citizens in a multicultural society (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Record.Google Scholar
  8. Banks, J. A., & Banks, C. A. M. (2010). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  9. Baskerville, D. (2011). Developing cohesion and building positive relationships through Storytelling in a culturally diverse New Zealand classroom. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(1), 107–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Batson, C. D. (1991). The altruism question: Toward a social psychological answer. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  11. Batson, C. D., Batson, J. G., Slingsby, J. K., Harrell, K. L., Peekna, H. M., & Matthew, R. (1991). Empathic joy and the empathy-altruism hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(3), 413–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Batson, C. D., Early, S., & Salvarani, G. (1997a). Perspective taking: Imagining how another feels versus how you would feel. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 751–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Batson, C. D., Eklund, J. H., Chermok, V. L., Hoyt, J. L., & Ortiz, B. G. (2007). An additional antecedent of empathic concern: Valuing the welfare of the person in need. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93(1), 65–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Batson, C. D., Polycarpou, M. P., Harmon-Jones, E., Imhoff, H. J., Mitchener, E. C., Bednar, L. L., et al. (1997b). Empathy and attitudes: Can feeling for a member of a stigmatized group improve feelings toward the group? Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72, 105–118.Google Scholar
  15. Berman, J. (2004). Empathic teaching: Education for life. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.Google Scholar
  16. Black, H., & Phillips, S. (1982). An intervention program for the development of empathy in student teachers. The Journal of Psychology, 112, 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brazziel, W. F. (1964). Higher horizons in southern elementary schools. Journal of Negro Education, 33(4), 382–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Carter, P. L. (2009). Equity and empathy: Toward racial and educational achievement in the Obama era. Harvard Educational Review, 79(2), 287–297.Google Scholar
  19. Cerulo, K. A. (1997). Identity construction: New issues, new directions. Annual Review of Sociology, 23, 385–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Coffman, S. L. (1981). Empathy as a relevant instructor variable in the experiential classroom. Group & Organization Management, 6(1), 114–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cooper, B. (2004). Empathy, interaction and caring: Teachers’ roles in a constrained environment. Pastoral Care in Education, 22(3), 12–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cooper, B. (2010). In search of profound empathy in learning relationships: Understanding the mathematics of moral learning environments. Journal of Moral Education, 39(1), 79–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cooper, B., Brna, P., & Martins, A. (2000). Effective affective in intelligent systems building on evidence of empathy in teaching and learning. Affective interactions, pp 21–34.Google Scholar
  24. Dance, L. J. (2002). Tough fronts: The impact of street culture on schooling. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Davis, M. H. (1980). A multidimensional approach to individual differences in empathy. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 10, 85.Google Scholar
  26. Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Davis, M. H. (1994). Empathy: A social psychological approach. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  28. Davis, J. E. (2003). Early schooling and academic achievement of African American males. Urban Education, 38(5), 515–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Decety, J., & Ickes, W. (2009). The social neuroscience of empathy. Cambridge, MA: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Delpit, L. (1995). Other people’s children. New York, NY: New Press.Google Scholar
  31. Dolby, N. (2012). Rethinking multicultural education for the next generation: The new empathy and social justice. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Dovidio, J. F., Allen, J. L., & Schroeder, D. A. (1990). The specificity of empathy-induced helping: Evidence for altruistic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 249–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Eisenberg, N., & Miller, P. A. (1987). Empathy and prosocial behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 91–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Eisenberg, N., & Strayer, J. (Eds.). (1987). Empathy and its development. New York: The Cambridge Press.Google Scholar
  35. Feshbach, N. D., & Feshbach, S. (2009). Empathy and education. In J. Decety & W. Ickes (Eds.), The social neuroscience of empathy (pp. 85–98). Cambridge, MA: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Fry, R. (2007). The changing racial and ethnic composition of U.S. public schools. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center. Retrieved from http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=79.
  37. Fultz, J., Batson, C. D., Fortenbach, V. A., McCarthy, P. M., & Varney, L. L. (1986). Social evaluation and the empathy-altruism hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(4), 761–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2), 106–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  40. Gay, G. (2013). Teaching to and through cultural diversity. Curriculum Inquiry, 43(1), 48–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Gordon, G. L. (1999). Teacher talent and urban schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 81(4), 304–307.Google Scholar
  42. Hodgkinson, H. (2002). Demographics and teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2), 102–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hoffman, M. L. (2000). Empathy and moral development: Implications for caring and justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Howard, T. C. (2001). Powerful pedagogy for African American students: A case of four Teachers. Urban Education, 36(2), 179–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Howard, G. (2006). We can’t teach what we don’t know: White teachers, multiracial Schools. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  46. Howard, T. C. (2010). Why race and culture matter in schools: Closing the achievement gap in America’s classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  47. Irvine, J. J., & York, D. E. (1995). Growing up African American in catholic schools. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  48. Johnson, L. E., & Reiman, A. J. (2007). Beginning teacher disposition: Examining the Moral/ethical domain. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(5), 676–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kamberelis, G., & Dimitriadis, G. (2005). Focus groups: Strategic articulations of pedagogy, politics, and inquiry. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 887–907). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Korth, B., Martin, Y., & Sotoo, N. (2007) Little things that made a big difference: Trust and empathy on the path to multiculturalism. Scholarlypartnershipsedu, 2(1), 25–44. Retrieved from http://opus.ipfw.edu/spe/vol2/iss1/4.Google Scholar
  51. Ladson-Billings, G. (1992). Liberatory consequences of literacy: A case of culturally relevant instruction for African-American students. The Journal of Negro Education, 61(3), 378–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  53. Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). Yes, but how do we do it? Practicing culturally relevant pedagogy. In J. Landsman & C. W. Lewis (Eds.), White teachers/diverse classrooms: A guide to building inclusive schools, promoting high expectations, and eliminating racism (pp. 29–42). Sterling, VA: Stylus.Google Scholar
  54. Lawrence-Lightfoot, S. (1985). The good high school: Portraits of character and culture. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  55. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  56. McAllister, G., & Irvine, J. J. (2002). The role of empathy in teaching culturally diverse students: A qualitative study of teachers’ beliefs. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(5), 433–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Milner, H. R. (2005). Stability and change in US prospective teachers’ beliefs and decisions about diversity and learning to teach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(7), 767–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Milner, H. R. (2008a). What does teacher education have to do with teaching? Implications for diversity studies. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 118–131.Google Scholar
  59. Milner, H. R. (2008b). Disrupting deficit notions of difference: Counter-narratives of Teachers and community in urban education. Teacher and Teacher Education, 24(6), 1573–1598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Milner, H. R. (2010a). What does teacher education have to do with teaching: Implications for diversity study? Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 1118–1131.Google Scholar
  61. Milner, H. R. (2010b). Start where you are, but don’t stay there. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  63. National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2008). Professional standards for the accreditation of teacher preparation institutions. Retrieved from http://www.ncate.org/Portals/0/documents/Standards/NCATE%20Standards%202008.pdf.
  64. Noguera, P. A. (2003). Trouble with Black boys: The role and influence of environmental and cultural factors on the academic performance of African American males. Urban Education, 38(4), 431–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Noguera, P. A. (2009). How listening to students can help schools to improve. Theory into Practice, 46(3), 205–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. O’Brien, E. (2003). The political is personal: The influence of White supremacy on White antiracists’ personal relationships. In A. W. Doane & E. Bonilla Silva (Eds.), White out: The continuing significance of racism (pp. 253–270). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  67. Pajak, E. (2001). Clinical supervision in a standards-based environment: Opportunities and challenges. Journal of Teacher Education, 52(3), 233–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Parsons, S. C., & Brown, P. U. (2001). Educating for diversity: An invitation to empathy and action. Action in Teacher Education, 23(3), 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Redman, G. L. (1977). Study of the relationship of teacher empathy for minority persons and inservice human relations training. The Journal of Educational Research, 70(4), 205–210.Google Scholar
  70. Rogers, C. R. (1975). Empathic: An unappreciated way of being. Counseling Psychologist, 5(2), 2–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Rossman, G. B., & Rallis, S. F. (2003). Learning in the field: An introduction to qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  72. Rowe, M. (1974). Wait time and rewards as instructional variables, their influence on language, logic and fate control. Journal of Research in Science, 11(4), 291–308.Google Scholar
  73. Snyder, T. (2009). Digests of education statistics 2008 (NCES 2009-020). National Center of Education Statistics. Washington, DC. Retrieved from htteacher participant://www.eric.ed.gov.
  74. Stephan, W. G., & Finlay, K. A. (1999). The role of empathy in improving intergroup relations. Journal of Social Issues, 55, 729–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Stevens, W. K. (1967). Norfolk’s venture into empathy. Southern Education Report, 2(6), 13–16.Google Scholar
  76. Stotland, E. (1969). Exploratory investigations of empathy. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 4, pp. 271–313). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  77. Tettegah, S., & Anderson, C. J. (2007). Pre-service teachers’ empathy and cognitions: Statistical analysis of text data by graphical models. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 32(1), 48–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Toldson, I. A. (2013). Race matters in the classroom. In C. W. Lewis & I. A. Toldson (Eds.), Black male teachers: Diversifying the United States’ teacher workforce (pp. 15–21). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Toldson, I. A., & Lewis, C. W. (2012). Challenge the status quo: Academic success among school-age African American males. Washington: Congressinal Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.Google Scholar
  80. U.S. Bureau of Labor. (2011a). Labor force characteristics by race and ethnicity, 2010 (Report No. 1032). Retrieved January 28, 2012 from Bureau of Labor Statistics Report Online via GPO Accessed http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsrace2010.pdf.
  81. U.S. Bureau of Labor (2011b). Women in the labor force: A data book. (Report No. 1034) Retrieved January 28, 2012 from Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports Online via GPO Accessed http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2011.pdf.
  82. Warren, L. H. (2005). Using multicultural literature to develop empathy and compassion in preservice teachers: A first step in preparing culturally responsive teachers (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10518/1730.
  83. Warren, C.A. (2012). Empathic interaction: White female teachers and their Black male students (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10027/9470.
  84. Wispé, L. (1986). The distinction between sympathy and empathy: To call forth a concept, a word is needed. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(2), 314–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Applied Psychology and Human Development, Graduate School of EducationUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations