How could sensing others’ emotions affect education?

Guest post by Lisa Lefstein-Berusch, Senior Program Associate at Facing History and Ourselves 

Many players, both teachers and students, are wondering how the FeelThat technology might improve or affect the future of education.  

Some players have discussed how helpful it might be for teachers to sense their students’ emotions. Francisco Angel suggests that education could improve, especially for students who are too shy or too frustrated to ask for help. Other players built on this idea, suggesting that feeling students’ emotions could help teachers pace their lessons or respond in the moment to an entire class’s confusion.  

positive imagination: Teachers can understand their students. They know if they're frustrated or don't understand or are just too shy to ask.

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Anita suggests that teachers might need to receive training to deal with students’ anxiety and confusion.  

predict, in response to "I wonder what it would feel like for the teacher if they felt everyone's confusion at once. #education." - Card reads, Teachers will be trained to deal with the anxiety and frustration from students #education

Teachers are dealing with students’ emotions, frustration, and confusion every day. Another post from Komalta Rajani highlights the way that students can feel when teachers do not empathize with their confusion. These posts reminds us that they cannot wait for this technology to be able to respond to their students’ emotions.  

positive imagination card: #education teachers could feel the confused state of the student and react accordingly instead of being condescending!

Anita and others consider behavior in schools and classrooms, too, pointing out that there are emotions behind students’ negative behavior. The hope in this post and others is that teachers could find better ways to reach troubled students if they understand that there are real and difficult emotions behind their often disruptive behaviors.

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positive imagination card: teachers will be able to teach emotional skills by showing kids the reasons or causes behind other kids' negative behaviors #education

These posts and others raise important questions about the role of emotion and empathy in education. What could teachers and administrators do today – without the technology of the future–to better reach students in our schools?