COMMUNICATION SKILLS AND EMPATHY
Finland is an increasingly multicultural society, with people from very different backgrounds, studying and working together. This makes it more important than ever that students learn to communicate with understanding and respect. An essential skill here is empathy, the ability to put yourself in another person’s place and to imagine how he or she might be thinking or feeling in a particular situation.
The empathy and communication exercises help students learn to recognize and understand the importance of the universal needs, worries, and feelings that human beings have. For any attempt at conflict-solving to work, these universal conditions must first be identified and respected. These exercises also help students to develop ways of dealing with these universal conditions in ways that are fair and respectful to everybody. The exercises support the aims of the national middle school (junior high) and high school curriculums in developing students’ skills in empathy, creative and critical thinking, self-expression, presentation skills, and cooperation and communication skills. At the same time students are encouraged to critically examine and improve on their own ways of dealing with conflicts.
The exercises are downloadable as PDF files.