Empathy Training for Student Teachers - Design, Structure and Initial Results
Christoph M. Paulus, Saskia Meinken

This pilot study represented a first attempt at developing a training designed to promote the ability of perspective-taking in student teachers. For this purpose, we conducted 7 training sessions, all of which demonstrated and trained the process of perspective-taking in various school and everyday situations on the one hand, and elaborated on the benefits of empathic behavior in the school context on the other. The sample consisted of a total of 48 student teachers, 25 in the control group and 23 in the experimental group, respectively. To measure empathy, in particular the ability to adopt others’ perspectives, we used two questionnaires: first, the Saarbrücken Personality Questionnaire, a German translation of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, and a self-developed form of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy, which we translated and adapted to the school setting. Posttest results showed significant improvements in both students' perspective-taking ability and general attitudes toward empathic behavior when dealing with students and school problem situations. The increase in perspective taking ability is independent of the gender of the subjects and develops at almost identical rates in both genders.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v11n2a3