“Who has Family Business?” | Exploring the Role of Empathy in Student-Teacher Interactions

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Abstract: The quality of student-teacher interactions is shaped by both the capacity of the teacher to cultivate trusting relationships with students and his or her ability to establish a safe, supportive classroom environment. This proves especially important for individuals teaching in multicultural and urban education settings. In recent literature, empathy has emerged as a useful tool for accomplishing the aforementioned goals, yet it is diicult to pinpoint concrete approaches teachers may immediately adopt to bolster its application to their interactions with diverse youth. Family Business is one such instructional strategy – designed by a practicing public school educator – useful for helping teachers to understand empathy’s pragmatic signiicance to improving the outcomes of everyday student-teacher interactions. A description of “family business” is presented and empathy’s role for producing favorable student outcomes as a result of its implementation is discussed.

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