Pillar 4 Empathy

4. Empathy

We now turn to the fourth and, in my opinion, the most important pillar of them all. In my experience, empathy is the “denominator” for us in Wlodkowski’s four-pillar formula.

Empathy Formula

Naturally, some learners will need much more support than others. Some will need a lot of empathy and support only in the beginning or until they become more self-directed. Some will move through the program irrespective of by whom or how or even when they are being taught. But one thing for sure, as noted above, most of our learners have left school early. We will also be teaching new Canadians; in many cases, they will typically need no less empathy and support than those who have grown up in Canada.

Tragically, despite its importance in our field, the pillar of empathy is the hardest of the four to talk about because it is simply so enigmatic. With Wlodkowski’s four-pillar approach, expertise can be acquired with increased learning. Clarity can be improved and developed with constructive feedback. Enthusiasm can also be developed with feedback, and with self-awareness. Each of these will be far more successful in our field if founded on empathy. However, I know of no courses on empathy.

But the following can be helpful.