When using verbal communication, empathy can be enhanced by the use of techniques such as paraphrasing, reflecting, summarising and probing. While the surface behaviours such as use of language can be used, it is important for the teacher to have a deep commitment towards practicing empathy. (Randall, et al, 2001) Using Empathy to Develop Relationship Carl Rogers (1967) found from the counselling studies that people who are good at making positive relationships are usually the ones that empathise with people more easily. This translates to feel what other person is feeling as well as communicating the feeling to the other person.
It also includes ability to listen to feelings beyond that is evident from the verbal conversations. This makes empathy a powerful influence in relationship building. When teachers are able to empathise, it forms a bridge between the teacher and the student. The student feels comfortable and trusts that the teacher is able to understand him or her. The teacher who is capable of empathy eventually gets a reputation of a good listener as well. The students and other people who interact with the teacher feel confident that they get the support and confide without doubt with teachers who are empathetic.
(Denis, 1999) Conclusion The literary review looked at various aspects related to bullying and empathy. The different researches defined bullying in different manner. However it is possible to generalise the definition of bullying to include certain key aspects. The first aspect is that bullying is a negative and harmful activity that affects the victim. Another aspect of bullying which is brought out by Ritcher and AMA refers to the imbalance of power with a more powerful bully attacking a vulnerable victim. The definition also brings out the aspect of repeated attack on the individual to cause harm.
The various researches indicate that bullying is wide spread and affects large percentage of students in different parts of the problem. This makes it an important issue to be addressed for finding out solutions for ensuring that this activity is eliminated from the schools. This is important from the perspective of the damage that can be introduced to the victim due to the bullying activity. The extend of bullying activity can also be understood from the various types of bullying prevalent in the schools. The important distinction is between the direct and indirect bullying.
While direct bullying can be easily identified and recognised, it is difficult to detect indirect bullying. This nature of bullying makes it more complex to resolve. Cyber bullying is an important aspect of the modern day bullying. The use of technology introduces different challenges to the prevention of bullying. Cyber bullying introduces another level of complexity due to its fast nature, difficulty to understand the impact of bullying, reduction in the difference between the bullying and other teasing or jokes. Due to the nature of cyber bullying any of these activities can soon become bullying activity with little effort.
Another aspect of cyber bulling is the role of bystanders. It is also important to note the speed in which bullying can snowball in cyber bullying due to the availability of easy and fast methods of communication. Bullying activity involves several roles. Understanding of different roles such as followers, supporters, disengaged onlookers, defenders is important from the perspective of prevention. Each of the players in the bullying activity is important to identify in order to devise strategies for stopping and prevention of bullying.
The literary review also looked at the characteristics of the key roles in bullying the bully and the victim. It is important to note that there is certain stereotype characteristics associated with each of the roles. However researches have also shown that some of the characteristics of roles like bully may be different from the traditional definitions. Researches have shown that bully may have high social skills and empathy when compared to other students, unlike what is defined. This is explained by various theories of bullying.
A socio-ecological system perspective of bullying provides a view of the inherent complexity of bullying. The bullying activity involves different elements that are around the bully and the victim such as family, school and peers, community and culture. It introduces the need to look at different elements outside just the immediate environment of the victim and the bully. The literary review looks at the different reasons for bullying by looking at the different models and theories that have been devised to explain the bullying behaviour.
The different theories looks at the underlying motives of the individuals for doing bullying and hence lays basis of understanding the factors that need to be considered for preventing bullying. Role of teacher is an important aspect in stopping and preventing bullying. It is critical for teachers to have the ability to understand the characteristics of bullying activity, recognise the bully and the victim and have strategies to ensure that bullying does not happen. Researchers indicate that most of the teachers find it difficult to identify bullying especially when indirect bullying is involved.
Further, most of them did not have clear knowledge, skills and confidence to prevent bullying in schools. Empathy of the teacher played an important role in ensuring that the teacher is able to understand the children who are victims and respond appropriately. The teachers who do not show empathy were found to find it difficult to listen to the children who are victims of bully and detect the bullying activity. Teachers without empathy also missed the victims when they were able to articulate well about the bullying activity. Various types of bullying intervention programs have been developed and implemented.
The key ones that are widely adopted include Method of Shared Concern and the No Blame Approach. The approaches are based on the principle that physical punishments and reprimands are not effective in reducing bullying. These work on the underlying principle that the bullies need to be shown the impact of their activities as well as make them understand the point of view of the victims in order to prevent and reduce bullying. The second section of the chapter looks at empathy and brings out the importance of empathy in bulling as well as in other areas involving interpersonal relationship.
The definition of empathy includes understanding of others situations, feelings and motives and to look at someone elses situation as ones own. One of the important aspect of empathy is the self-differentiation when empathising. This forms one of the important difference between sympathy and empathy. Empathy involves understanding of the other persons emotional state, often from the cues provided by the target. Empathy involves affective response to ones emotional state, a cognitive capacity to understand and take the perspective of another person and regulation of emotion.
Empathy is used effectively in the health industry. Looking at how it is used by the physicians to understand the patients provides important information in devising the response of teachers towards students involved in bullying. It also provides important information on the effectiveness of use of empathy in a related field. Researches have shown that use of empathy by the physicians improved the effectiveness of the practice in a significant way by being able to pick up clues regarding the medical condition, thereby improving the information collection process.
It was also found that lack of understanding and knowledge abut empathy was the major reason for not adopting empathy for medical purposes. The section also looks at the relationship between bullying and empathy. Researches indicate that lack of empathy or application of empathy is one of the most important reasons for students involving in bullying. Bullies are characterised by failure to understand others feelings. Researchers have studied the relationship between the bullying behaviour and the empathic responsiveness of children. The researches found strong negative correlation between the two factors.
Another important aspect is that although bullies do not show empathy to the victim, they are usually not incapable of empathic responses. Goal oriented processes attempts to explain the behaviour of bullies despite the fact that they have capability for empathic response. It explains this question by looking at the controlled empathy and the automatic empathy. The high focus on goal and intentions prompt controlled empathy that work toward non-empathy in the bullies. Empathy is key to the teacher understanding the students world and being able to communicate to the student about the understanding.
Researches have found that when the teacher is able to communicate the understanding, the student normally allows the teacher to enter more into his or her world and hence enable to aid the student, thereby forming basis for learning, changing and forming basis for development. For this it is important for the teacher to show the genuineness to the student and also to accept the students without conditions, judgement or evaluation. This unconditional positive outlook provides assurance to the student in accepting the students imperfections as part of the students individual human conditions.
Empathy helps the teachers to develop positive relationships with the students. This is critical for understanding and detecting bullying and intervening in the right manner to prevent it. The teachers are able to form a bridge to the student and provide the confidence for the students to confide in them, thereby making bully intervention effective.
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