97: Building Empathy





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  • Ability to understand people
  • Accurately hear unspoken feelings, thoughts and concerns of others
  • Seeing other people’s perspectives
Expressed and Unexpressed Feelings:
  • Challenges:
    • Not all feelings are spoken
    • People aren’t always aware of how they feel
Johari Window:
  • Quadrant 1 Tips (Top left, Feelings are known to self and expressed)
    • Listen for blinking (feeling) words
    • Respond compassionately and attentively to feeling words
  • Quadrant 2 Tips (Bottom left, Feelings are known to self but unexpressed)
    • Observe body language
    • Ask questions related to perceived feelings
    • Put yourself in other’s shoes
  • Quadrant 3 Tips (Top right, Feeling are unknown to self, but expressed = Blind spot)
    • Ask person if he would like feedback and use SSBIR method
    • Be sensitive.  Don’t pry.  If needed, ask probing questions in private
    • Observe body language
  • Quadrant 4 Tips (Bottom right, feelings are unknown to all)
    • Ask questions
    • Put yourself in other’s shoes
Carkuff model:
  • Listen deeply by paraphrasing what was just heard without asking questions or giving advice
4 Levels of Listening:  For more listening tips, go here.
  1. Paraphrase content
  2. Paraphrase feelings
  3. Paraphrase feelings and content
  4. Paraphrase feelings, content and meaning
Star Listening:
  • Mostly at level 3 or above
In team interactions, not all important emotions are expressed.  Teaching the Johari Window to students and related strategies can help students to practice empathy towards team members that are feeling emotions that are either unknown (but impactful) or difficult to express.  Teaching students how to actively listen and demonstrate empathy will help them build rapport with their team mates and to improve their shared trust and collaboration.



Preparation Steps
  • Research more strategies relating to showing empathy for different states in the Johari window
  • Develop visuals, handouts and scaffolding activities to teach students how to actively listen during different Johari window states
  • Develop learning targets (long term and supporting) that relate to skillful listening
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement scaffolding lessons prepped above – include modeling, guided role playing, small / large group discussions and reflections
  • Have students reflect on how they felt when they were demonstrating and receiving strategies related to building empathy
  • Have students communicate with their team mates on how they can better read each other’s feelings and what questions help them best communicate unexpressed emotions
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Have students reflect over time on how practicing empathy building strategies affects their understanding of teammates and team morale
  • Ask students to use their reflections over time to uncover habits they would like to develop to continue to build empathy with others

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