A 2009 study Within Connections: Empathy, Mirror Neurons and Art Education by Carol S. Jeffers reminds us that the art room might just be the perfect environment for teaching empathy. In her article, Jeffers discusses the experiences students have when identifying with and creating different works of art. Artistic exploration helps a student to identify his or her “self” while figuring out his or her place in the community and the world. Thanks to what are called mirror neurons, a student can experience empathy just by sharing artwork or experiences, even if he or she is not the creator of the piece. This puts a whole new spin on the importance of student reflections, class critiques and artist statements!
Jessica Balsley, Founder of The Art of Education