A core tenet of humane education is fostering empathy and compassion for all living beings. To achieve this, it is critical to teach youth how to accurately identify and describe their own feelings as well as the feelings of others.
When teaching about understanding the feelings of other species, and the way animals express their feelings through body language, our “Emotion Wheel” handout, may be a helpful tool to reach your objectives. First, provide youth with the opportunity to review the wheel and select any words they are unfamiliar with. Provide them with the definitions handout so that they can learn the meaning of those feelings. Consider creating scenarios and ask them to describe how they think they would feel in that situation, being as specific as possible about the feeling using the wheel.
As youth develop a larger vocabulary for describing feelings, it will increase their knowledge and understanding of feelings. This knowledge will increase their ability to recognize feelings within themselves and better equip them to practice empathy for others and increase their ability to identify the feelings of other people and other species.