5120323_Swan_PhDThesis_FINAL.pdf (20.95 MB)
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Empathy and Mentalization among Australian Primary Teachers

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posted on 2017-06-21, 00:22 authored by PAUL ANTHONY SWAN
This study analyses how six Australian primary teachers draw on mentalizing and empathy to support students. Empathy involves recognising a student’s mental state and responding with care. Participants were surveyed to assess perceptions of classroom environment and relational goals. Observers assessed lessons and filmed classroom practice of empathy interaction for emotional support. A phenomenological approach was used to explore experience. Teachers were highly motivated to connect with students, took a personal interest in students, displayed high levels of social and emotional support, and regulated teaching to meet students’ needs. An Empathy Assessment Instrument is proposed to enhance empathic engagement skills.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Angelika Anderson

Additional supervisor 1

Dennis Moore

Additional supervisor 2

Philip Riley

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Education