Empathy in Language Teaching


On this course teachers learn why empathy is particularly important in language teaching and how empathy can be developed among both language teachers and learners.


Watch a video about the course.


The course lasts five days and there are a total of twenty contact hours.


The course language is English but the course is suitable for teachers of other languages.


Course content
Session deals with the following themes:

  • An overview of the literature and research findings on empathy among language teachers and learners.
  • The empathic brain and how it works.
  • Using techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy to develop empathy.
  • Using techniques from humanistic teaching to develop empathy.
  • How to use film and video to foster empathy.
  • How to use paintings and photographs to foster empathy.
  • How to use Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to foster empathy.
  • How to use Visible Thinking Routines (VTR) to foster empathy.
  • How to use literature to foster empathy in the language classroom.
  • How to teach ‘active listening’ to foster empathy in the language classroom.


Course dates

Monday 22nd July – Friday 26th July 2024



Monday to Friday, 9.30 – 11.30 and 12.00 – 14.00



Carrer Sardenya 326, Barcelona


Feedback from teachers on the Empathy in Language Teaching course

“Kieran was unremittingly warm, receptive and good at keeping the course on track. There is always a risk that it can all become a bit touchy-feely, and this was something he steered clear of. In this respect, placing the science element at the start of the course was very well-judged. Above all, Kieran was extraordinarily generous with the time and effort he spent on individual feedback. I would recommend the course wholeheartedly.”


“A course, such as ‘Empathy in Language Teaching’ established by Kieran Donaghy isn’t created in a matter of weeks; it’s the work of a lifetime.”


“Everything Kieran did was top-quality. From the materials to the course design, from his attention to each trainee to his friendly attitude.”


“The course is very well organised and the contents and materials are excellent.”


“Kieran  organized particularly well and clearly the contents of the course.”



“Kieran was very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and responsive.”


“I learnt many things on the course: a much deeper insight on the theme of empathy, different perspectives from different classmates, I received lots of useful resources to implement in class and last but not least, it helped me to reflect on my own degree of empathy.”


“On the course I learnt the theory behind the importance of the inclusion of empathy in language teaching and practical ways to implement this. This was achieved by the coverage of the course materials and mainly the interaction with the tutor and participants.”


“I learned how authentic materials could be used to foster empathy. I learned why empathy is important in society, education and language teaching. I learned how to be an empathetic and active listener-teacher.”


“In general, the course was well structured, easy to follow and very interesting. Thank you!”


“A brilliant course!”

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