6 Motivational Reasons Empathy Should Matter to Students
With empathy often at the root of enhanced academic achievement, MindShift Experts share six compelling reasons why empathy should be an essential component of developing students for life.
The number one determinant of long-term academic success is skill-based motivation, according to popular research. Conversely, emotional-type motivation—both present and memory-based—cannot be measured until after academic achievement has become established. As a result, the creative potential of emotionless students fades as they become more complacent about earning their future.
Yet, students who are empathetic have higher test scores, more interest in learning, and a more closely aligned aptitude for success in school and in life than their emotionless peers.
Key Components of Empathy
Empathy helps students cultivate deeply lived experience, understanding that everyone, including themselves, has unique experiences that connect them with others and offer valuable insight into the world. Compassion enables students to see the world through their peers’ eyes, empathizing with their shared struggles and understanding them to be human just like they are. Motivation that strives for, and achieves, the top-tier level of academic achievement—ability to learn independently, solve problems, and succeed in complex, real-world situations—is based on how much someone cares about the outcome—the ability to achieve the “education experience.”
Six powerful motivational factors that drive empathy
• Humans are built to seek comfort and connection. Feeling connected to someone, whether it be family, friends, or life in general, serves as a significant mental and emotional support.
• At root, people seek meaning in the world around them. Consequently, studying and learning is an incredibly meaningful endeavor for most people.
• Students with empathy are motivated to discover and master a new skill or knowledge based on reality. Taking advantage of the opportunity to explore, think, and practice this skill—learning what makes the world unique, where each person’s particular needs can be met—serves as a gift and a means to achieving academic success.
• Everyone has an empathy threshold, a point in a potential emotional range that corresponds to a particular level of empathy. Students with strong emotional-type motivation need to be guided in their emotions, but not so much that they panic or become overwhelmed by feeling strong emotions. Emotional-type motivation is generally related to people’s ability to recognize, understand, and embrace their emotions.
• Empathy helps students understand the strengths and limitations of others. It helps them identify people’s real needs and abilities, enabling them to develop a deeper understanding of their own strengths, problems, and limitations. An understanding of others’ strengths and limitations allows students to understand their own limitations.