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Empathy Matters

23 Jan 2018


Radin Mas Primary School allows students to understand the value of empathy through real life experiences

Imagine you are at the traffic lights and you wanted to cross the road, what would you do?

Primary 5 students of Radin Mas Primary School were quick to respond, “Press the button! Wait for the green man!”

But what if you can’t see the green man or the world around you?

These questions began to set the young minds to look and feel from another person’s point of view and emotion. At the same time, it also helps them learn about empathy and inclusion.

To find out the challenges experienced by the visually-impaired on public transport, Radin Mas Primary School provided an opportunity for over 60 students to experience, first-hand, how it felt. As part of the programme, these students also participated in ‘Caving’, an activity where they were challenged to not being able to use their sense of sight in the dark.

They travelled around Punggol in public transport, even boarding and getting off a bus – blindfolded. It proved to be quite a struggle as all they could rely on was their hearing and sense of touch. 

“The visually-impaired face many daunting challenges. I was terrified that I was not able to see anything. It is scary to be in the dark all the time I cannot imagine what the visually impaired goes through every day,” shares Pertina Liu, a Primary Five student who went through the camp.

After the ‘Caving’ experience, students reflected upon and shared their reflections. They also collaborated and worked as a team to discuss ways that the visually-impaired could be better supported.

Students were also encouraged to pen their reflections, share anecdotes and even worked with National Library Board to develop an e-book. The experiences not made learning come alive, but what was most important was understand and learning the value of empathy.

 “It was a struggle when my vision was completely cut off.  I learned to understand the needs and feeling for others, in this case, the visually-impaired and that we should not take things for granted. I hope that more of us together with support groups will look into educating the public on ways to help not just the visually impaired community but many others,” opined Genevieve Guntur, a Primary Five student who was part of this programme.

This article is contributed by Radin Mas Primary School.

Why does empathy matter and how can parents help to instil this value in their children?

Parents can be good role models in demonstrating what it means to be kind and show empathy towards others. Our actions are a mirror of who we are, so if parents do want their children to exhibit certain behaviours, it is best to ‘walk the talk’. Let’s try to show empathy towards our family, friends, or even in our daily social interactions.