Author: Hafsah Aminu (Nigeria) | Editor: Gary Motteram | Published on 5 October 2023


Stage 1: Pre-Assessment Activity

Begin the session with a pre-assessment activity to gauge participants' knowledge of soft skills.

  • Ask the teachers if they are aware of any soft skills. Out their ideas on the board.
  • Add to the list offered by the teachers  (e.g., communication, teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability, empathy).
  • Ask participants to rate their familiarity and understanding of each skill on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 = low, 5 = high).
  • Discuss the results and identify areas where participants may require more information./ Ask the participants to say what they know about the different topics. Use this as a way of finding out what gaps there are in their knowledge.

Stage 2: Introduction to Empathy 

Introduce the concept of empathy.

  • Define empathy and its significance in education.
  • Explain that empathy is a crucial soft skill that underpins effective teaching and enhances other soft skills like communication and active listening.

Stage 3: The Connection between Empathy and other Soft Skills

  • Discuss the relationship between empathy and other soft skills.
  • Use the board or a projector to create a visual representation connecting empathy with various soft skills (e.g., arrows connecting empathy to communication, active listening, and emotional intelligence).

Stage 4: Empathy Building Activities

Engage participants in experiential activities to build empathy:

  • Divide participants into pairs.
  • Provide each pair with a scenario related to a common classroom challenge, such as a student struggling with a particular subject or behavior issues.
  • Ask participants to take turns sharing their perspectives and feelings about the scenario, practicing active listening and empathy.
  • Afterward, have a group discussion about what they learned and how empathy can influence classroom dynamics.

Stage 5: Teaching Empathy Strategies 

Share strategies for teaching empathy to future educators:

  • Provide handouts/list with techniques and activities that can be used in teacher education programs to foster empathy.
  • Discuss the importance of modeling empathy as teacher educators.
  • Encourage participants to brainstorm additional methods based on their experiences.

Stage 6: Reflection and Action Planning 

Conclude the session with a reflection and action-planning activity:

  • Ask participants to reflect on how their understanding of empathy and its connection to soft skills has evolved during the session.
  • Provide sticky notes and ask them to jot down one action they plan to take to incorporate empathy into their teacher education practices.
  • Collect and stick the notes in a corner of the room. Discuss these actions as a group, emphasizing the commitment to teaching empathy in their educator training programs. 


  • Thank participants for their engagement and commitment to teaching empathy.
  • Encourage ongoing learning and exploration of empathy-related topics in education.