Empathy, Equity, Empowerment
In this article, we explore the relevance of the concept of relational empathy to L2 learning. To this end, we first provide a short overview of the notion of empathy in second language acquisition (SLA). Then, we present ideas that gave rise to the introduction of relational empathy in the field of intercultural communication, along with potential benefits of taking this perspective in SLA. Next, we describe the post-method framework for L2 teaching as a strategy that is both well-suited for the fostering of relational empathy and is facilitated by the exercise of this approach. Following this lead, we explain in some detail Broome’s (2017) guidelines for the development of relational empathy and highlight the congruence of this approach with important principles of L2 teaching and learning. We then offer samples of classroom activities to further demonstrate the value of integrating the exercise of relational empathy in L2 instruction. In conclusion, we observe that these views are consistent with best practices in language instruction, such as the ones given in the World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages (National Standards Collaborative Board, 2015) and the Can-Do statements for Intercultural Communication (National Council of State Supervisors, NCSSFL), and submit that they further social justice through the promotion of a respectful and empowering teaching and learning environment.
Department of Languages and Literatures
Original Publication Date
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UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
2023 Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Posted with permission.
Olivares-Cuhat, Gabriela and Zimotti, Giovanni, "Empowering L2 Learners: The Role of Relational Empathy in L2 Learning" (2023). Faculty Publications. 5365.
The article, Gabriela Olivares-Cuhat and Giovanni Zimotti. "Empowering L2 Learners: The Role of Relational Empathy in L2 Learning," was published in Empathy, Equity, Empowerment, 2023 Report of the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, pages 1-20.