Empathy vs. Manners

Which do you think is more important to teach children: empathy or manners?  If you chose “manners”, then you align with 58% of the respondents to a Sesame Workshop survey.  Teachers, however, overwhelmingly (67%) stated that empathy, or the ability to feel another’s pain, was more important.

We assume that teaching children to have good manners will lead them to be empathetic.  There’s little evidence that is the case, though.  Even bullies display good manners around adults.

Check out the results of the survey or take it yourself here: K is for Kind: A National Survey on Kindness and Kids.

The Making Common Caring Project at Harvard University offers suggestions for cultivating empathy in children here.


I train Georgia PreK teachers and dabble a bit in the art of blogging. Have an idea for a blog post? Email me at bestpractices@gsu.edu. On the web: www.bestpractices.gsu.edu Facebook: www.facebook.com/bestpracticespk Twitter: @bestpracticespk

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