Academic journal article Adult Learning

Cooper, B. (2011). Empathy in Education: Engagement, Values and Achievement

Academic journal article Adult Learning

Cooper, B. (2011). Empathy in Education: Engagement, Values and Achievement

Article excerpt

Cooper, B. (2011). Empathy in education: Engagement, values and achievement. New York, NY: Continuum International. 284 pp. ISBN 978-1-4411-01440-0 (hardcover)

Reviewed by: Auvronette O. Guilbeaux Mercer University, Macon, GA, USA

In the beginning of her book, Bridgette Cooper (2011), a professor of education at the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom, thanks her parents for teaching her and her siblings how to love. I selected Empathy in Education: Engagement, Values and Achievement because of the author's in-depth study of empathy and its application in the educational setting. Based on qualitative research, the author delves into various characteristics of empathy as well as its limits. Have you met an educator who did not express compassion or empathy toward his or her students? Have you met an educator who was able to teach a subject with compassion in different ways rather than one set way? If so, you will likely be drawn to this book.

Cooper (2011) gains her perspective on empathy in education by interviewing educators and students from various educational institutions. She includes insights from psychologists, philosophers, and the field of neuroscience and reviews aspects of human nature and the caring relationship among educators. Grounded in the aforementioned research, along with relevant insights into the educational process, the book is compelling and serves educators and those wishing to better understand the importance of empathy in diverse relationships.

The book comprises three sections. In the first section, "Empathy, Morality and Learning: A Historical Background," Cooper (2011) explores empathy's meaning and significance. Using early philosophers' theories on the learning process, she researched empathy, how it is used in counseling and empathy training and its role in male/female relationships, brain trauma, and nonverbal communication. She further discusses historical matters of education and emotional intelligence. The author concludes having a definition of empathy and to which arena such definition is applied will determine its value in that setting. …

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