The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Empathy to Empower the Difference: Diversity and Inclusion in a Multicultural Classroom

Julia Huisman, NHLStenden University of Applied Sciences (The Netherlands)


The author of this article aims at exploring the role that Emotional Intelligence and in particular, Empathy, play in enhancing diversity and inclusion in a multicultural classroom; multicultural classrooms present a unique setting for the development of empathy because of the great diversity of language, social class, ethnicity, and culture that exists within them. The fields of study around empathy research have often been multi-disciplined, reaching a deeper complexity when researching empathetic behaviour in intercultural settings. There is an ongoing effort to attain a deeper understanding of the many intertwined factors that contribute to the complex process of empathy development and subsequently fostering diversity and inclusion. The article is based on research and data collected in interventions by the author among students from different countries in multidisciplinary and multicultural settings, and explores at how these three concepts are somehow connected with each other; being empathy an essential skill that should be included, not as individual subject matter, but threaded throughout the educational curricula. Research shows that fostering the power of the difference is beneficial for all stakeholders in a more and more globalised society.

Keywords Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, diversity, inclusion, multicultural classroom

References [1] …Banks, J., Cookson, P., Gay, G., Hawley, W., Irvine, J., Nieto, S., Schofield, J., & Stephan, W. (2001). Diversity within unity: Essential principles for teaching and learning in a multicultural society. Phi Delta Kappan International [2] Gerdes, K. (2011). Empathy, sympathy, and pity: 21st century definitions and implications for practice and research. Journal of Social Service Researc

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