What are kindness and empathy, and why are they important to pedagogy? The traits of kindness and empathy are certainly desirable in one’s personality, but what bearing do they bring to the teaching and learning context? As discussed in Chapter One, notions of kindness and empathy as elements of love have roots in psychological, religious, and philosophical traditions of thought, although the two notions have different histories when it comes to pedagogy. As approaches to pedagogy began to be studied in more modern scholarly ways through research, kindness was recognised as being foundational to good teaching and learning (see Willard, 1929). In contrast, empathy has a much more recent history. Arnold (2006) points out that the idea of empathy has its roots in 19th century aesthetic philosophy, but that it was not until the mid 1980s that its links to pedagogy began to be seriously discussed. In that short time empathy has come to be seen by many as being of critical importance to meaningful learning (Schertz, 2006a).
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