Empathic – A programme to address empathy in the classroom

The French Safer Internet Centre (SIC) recently unveiled an empathy awareness programme for elementary and middle school students. In this article, they offer a deep dive into why and how they produced such a resource.

2021-01-22 French Safer Internet Centre awareness cyberbullying teachers, educators and professionals
Logo of programme Empathic

Why such a programme?

Empathy allows you to understand others without losing your personal point of view. A programme such as Empathic allows students to decentralise their own point of view, giving them the keys to understand the perspectives of others. A conflict can be mitigated more easily if those involved are not stuck in a position where they only try to defend their own point of view at all costs. Empathy can be particularly useful in situations of mockery or harassment.


Banner for the Empathic programme in French


Illustration – Banner for the Empathic programme. Copyright: French Safer Internet Centre

What does the Empathic programme contain? 

The programme contains three complementary and independent features:

  • "The tightrope walker manoeuvre" allows to work on change from a physical point of view. The students have to reproduce the gestures of the teacher while respecting his or her perspective. They must therefore try to adopt the teacher's visual point of view. 
  • "The virtual classroom" – for this exercise, the student is in a virtual classroom and must change their perspective/survival to that of the other students and of the teacher.
  • “The digital path from film” extracts are broken down into several stages. During the first one, the students discover an extract and then summarise it factually. For the second session, it is the comprehension, and then the interpretation of the situation and the images that the classroom works on. Finally, through debates and written productions, the last session leads the students to reflect on the themes addressed, evoking their own life experiences.

Initiated by a consortium composed of the Empathic association, Edtech TRALALERE, the laboratories “Lutin” and “Collège de France”, the Empathic programme was supported by the French Ministry of Education and by a solid pedagogical and scientific committee that allowed the proposed approach to be established. 

The programme, launched in October 2020, will be tested in more than 40 schools as part of the Ministry of National Education's “No to Harassment” programme. 

For more information, you can visit the website of the Empathic programme at www.programme-empathic.fr

Find out more about the work of the French Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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