June 8, 2010
Empathy in college students (and law students)
A faculty colleague and I were discussing our general concern that some law students who do well in their classes do not have much tolerance for or patience with fellow law students who are having trouble in a course. We could think of examples where the students with higher grades would exhibit less than desirable behavior in relation to such students or professor attempts to help those students.
Mind you, when talking about law students who are struggling, we meant specifically those who are working really hard to understand the material but are just not getting it as quickly as their classmates. We were not referring to law students who are slackers.
After our conversation, I noticed a posting on Stephanie West Allen's Idealawg entitled Empathy: College students don't have as much as they used to. As with every perspective there are different views and counter-arguments. But, I must confess that the research cited may indeed explain some of the behavior that we see among some law students as they react to their fellow students and their professors.
Food for thought. As ASP'ers, we can try to show the empathy that our struggling students may not receive from other students who are competing for grades and status. (Amy Jarmon)
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