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ERIC Number: ED544520
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 126
ISSN: ISSN-1324-9320
"Mentalization": A Tool to Measure Teacher Empathy in Primary School Teachers
Swan, Paul; Riley, Philip
Australian Association for Research in Education (NJ1), Paper presented at the Joint Australian Association for Research in Education and Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference (AARE-APERA 2012) World Education Research Association (WERA) Focal Meeting (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Dec 2-6, 2012)
To have empathy with another is to experience the psychological life of that person by projecting one's self into another to understand what they are thinking or feeling. The term "empathy" has definitions marked by ambiguity and discrepancy among philosophers, behavioral, social, and medical scholars. Despite this, the professional responsibilities of teachers to be empathic are defined in the graduate standards. Relatively little research examining teacher empathy on teacher-student relationships exists. This paper seeks to develop a definition of empathy that can be used to catalogue teachers' observation of, and interactions with, students. Firstly, a systematic review of the literature reveals considerable disagreement about what constitutes empathy. Secondly, examining empathy in primary school teachers provides connections with "mentalization" (Fonagy, 1991). Defining empathy in terms of mentalization provides important insights for primary educators about how to create positive and productive classrooms built on strong teacher-student relationships. (Contains 7 footnotes.)
Australian Association for Research in Education. AARE Secretariat, One Geils Court, Deakin ACT 2600, Australia. Tel: +61-2-6285-8388; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Identifiers - Location: Australia