Empathetic and Collaborative Climate in the Classroom: Scenarios to Strengthen Coexistence in Schools

Empathetic and Collaborative Climate in the Classroom: Scenarios to Strengthen Coexistence in Schools

Maria Medina Dominguez (UNED, Spain), Antonio Medina Rivilla (UNED, Spain) and Conchita Medina (UNED, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2960-6.ch005
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Educational institutions are complex and uncertain organizations, living situations and relationships of interaction based on reflection, collaboration and achieve valuable educational goals, but sometimes such relationships become distressed, generating aggression, tension and mistrust that prevent the consolidation of a climate of emotional harmony, empathy and understanding between people of school. This chapter aims to answer the following questions: What kind of relationships should be built in order to build a climate of harmony, empathy and full coexistence among all members of the classroom? Theoretical basis for identifying protective factors, to work the most appropriate climate of empathy in the classroom that stresses the importance of clear rules, enthusiasm and emotional balance, as well as a real involvement of the entire educational community against processes and factors such as harassment, exhibit aggressive behavior, lack of supervision, etc., all of them understood as risks.
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University educator and student life during the initial year of university education may be characterized by a process of acceptance, challenges and relationships, establishing the basis for the student’s subsequent university trajectory.

University professors should be aware of their impact on the student’s university life and should understand the importance of their tutorial work during this period, facilitating the introduction of each student to diverse work groups. They should also be conscious of the diversity of the groups existing within the same course year.

Student motivation is guaranteed when students discover their roots and expectations and consider themselves responsible for their study selection: to select first what and then when to study, following a path that is created by the teacher. At the university, professors are leaders that guide and assist students in the perception of new worlds of discoveries, where they can acquire in-depth knowledge as they advance their degree. Students are the protagonists of this university experience, and as such, they should discover their role and acquire new wisdom to prepare them to become excellent professionals.

Classroom life implies the need to be aware of the impact of social relations and educational interactions (Jackson, 1987; López, 2016; Medina, 2016) that have a varied meaning for each of its members: teaching personnel, students and observers who collaborate with the educational institution. The classroom is a socio-communicative microsystem that generates its own style of relationships, exchanges and ways of acting of each of them.

These actions and the human scholastic climate all contribute to the development of tasks that should characterize the execution of innovative teaching practices and special means of sharing and responding to the many challenges generated by the processes of teaching, learning and training of teachers and students.

In-depth analyses have yet to be conducted on the plurality of the exchanges taking place in the classroom or on their impact on the interactions taking place between teachers and students. Without a doubt, there is a need to be aware of the origin and development of said interactions in order to understand the value and impact of the social climate and the relationship climate within each classroom, and also in the virtual classrooms and learning networks.

What is the impact of classroom social climate on the basic relationships, peaceful coexistence and prevention of intimidation? The hypothesis proposed by the authors considers that the development of a motivating work climate will support the suitable coexistence of all of its members and help avoid conflicts.

Thus, the research question is as follows: How should we understand the relationships that are generated in the teaching-learning processes and their impact on improved co-existence?

The response to this question requires the identification of the formal relationships that are necessary in order to create a climate of empathy and continued development, as well as the improvement of learning processes during the first year of university studies, integrally training the students and working with them on generic and didactic skills, interaction models and expected achievements, so as to develop profound motivation and emotional harmony.

The achievements should be obtained in order to create a framework of coexistence and understanding in the schools that adapt to each student for their comprehensive education, in such skills as: social work, team work, communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, etc. These skills are considered to be essential in order to create climates that promote understanding and collaboration between all members.

The proposed task to intensify the innovation and transformation of education practices to generate socio-communicative learning in first-year university students in physical and virtual classrooms, aims to accomplish the following objectives:

  • To discover a model that contributes to the development of a social climate in universities that improves coexistence.

  • To identify social relations based on the improved motivation, empathy and emotional harmony of students.

  • To use teaching and research methods to create a climate that fosters the development of coexistence and conflict prevention during the first year of degree studies.

  • To offer tasks, actions and decision-making processes that foster a climate of empathy and emotional harmony between university teachers and students in the classrooms.

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