Building Empathy

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about empathy, partly because it is a huge part of the job of teaching, and partly because of recent world events….

I have been thinking about these two for the past few weeks now, because to me, their story exemplifies what empathy really is and how it can be fostered. One of the fundamental principles of educational movements such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is that we, as humans, are works in progress. We have choice; we can grow and change.

This is precisely why social-emotional learning is such a foundational piece of education. Giving students the skills that they need to lead centered, empowered lives is a tremendous gift. Like math or reading, empathy is a teachable skill and like any subject area, we must meet the student where they are, not just where we wish they were or at the grade level their age dictates…

I think it is natural that empathy starts with what we know and ripples outwards from that.