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Note of sympathy

The American researcher Dr Kate Behr confuses empathy with sympathy ("A little empathy can be dangerous", TES, March 21). Teaching children to empathise with fictional characters such as Romeo or Juliet does not necessitate sympathising with them. Less controversially perhaps, I often encourage my pupils to empathise with a plant photosynthesising. They are asked to go outside and feel the sun on their leaves (outstretched hands), take in carbon dioxide through their stomata (mouth), and imagine the sap rising through their veins (legs).

Stan Labovitch, Secondary teacher, Windsor.

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