The study aims to develop a sense of empathy based on providing the pupil a way through which to feel what the other is suffering from, while trying to put him/herself in the others’ shoes, creating positive feelings and behaviors. With the need to note that the sympathy aimed at in the current study is completely different from mere sympathy based only on mere abstract understanding of sincere feelings. Through the development of this positive force, the study endeavors to reflect positively on the direction and behavior of ordinary students towards their peers with special needs. The study sample consists of an exploratory sample of 150 male and female students at the elementary level; and it consists of an experimental sample of 50 male and female students who scored negatively on a tendencies’ scale towards people with special needs and at the same time were assessed negatively by their teachers and the student counselor. The study population is determined in some primary schools in Saudi Arabia as per the Eastern Region where the system applied involves merging ordinary people with those of special needs. As for the study tools, the researcher 1) prepared a measure of the study sample of ordinary pupils' attitudes towards their peers with special needs. 2) He also set up note cards to solicit the views of teachers and the student counselor and their assessment of their students in this regard. (3) Finally, the researcher designed and developed a set of classroom and extra-curricular activities based on the development of empathy, which included stories, films and Psychodrama based on role-playing games & switching roles etc… and the organization of a variety special trips & the provision of enhancing prizes and methods. The student counselor and a group of teachers were involved in its application. A number of parametric & non-parametric statistical methods were implemented, & two levels of the attitudes of ordinary students toward their peers with special needs have been identified; Level I represents students who have a negative and hostile attitudes toward their peers with special needs. The second level represents students who have sound positive attitudes. The prepared classroom and extra-curricular activities were implemented with level I students over the course of a whole semester, subsequently, these activities were applied to the rest of the students. Following that, the tendencies’ scale was applied towards families with special needs once again, & the views of teachers and the student counselor were sought. Study results concluded the efficacy of the classroom and extra-curricular activities used in the development of empathy and the modification of negative attitudes of ordinary students toward their peers with special needs. This was further confirmed through reconnoitering the views of teachers and the student counselor in their assessment of the behavior of students. A follow-up measurement was completed at the end of another semester, which ensured the continued effectiveness of the applied activities.


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  • Received: 30 April 2015
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