Building Up the Empathy Muscle

So many schools make high-blown statements as part of their mission or values about valuing and appreciating diversity, co-operation and sensitivity. However, when we step in to the school environment, when we delve even just a little in to the school’s practices, procedures and culture – do we find this is really reflected in the day to day reality of the school?

This is particularly poignant on a day when, around the world, there are reports of a tragic case of a young 12 year old girl in America, driven to commit suicide through online taunting and cyber-bullying.

Here are two links that highlight the importance and value of empathy as a critical ingredient in creating high empathy school climates and enabling children to build up their ’empathy muscles. The first is a very good article from the Edutopia website that includes links and information about the Ashoka ‘Start Empathy’ and ‘Changemaker Schools’ programmes:

Edutopia Article – Empathy Back to School Supply

The second is an inspiring speech at the 2013 Graduation of Harker School, California by Nipun Mehta;

I believe this idea of empathy focused schools is very powerful, acknowledging that it starts with the educators – we have to lead by example. Apart from anything else, I believe high empathy schools offer better academic learning scope for more students, as well as developing vital life skills for pupils and contributing to a more humane world.

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