Empathy: the Key to Social and Emotional Learning

Educators are aware that social problems like poverty, unsafe neighborhoods, violence, and family trauma can affect how students learn when they come to school. Though teaching subjects like math and literacy are the biggest part of their job, in many cases they’re also called on to attend to their students’ emotional health as well, incorporating social and emotional skills.


“Science is starting to show that there is a very strong integration between social and emotional skills and learning,” said Vicki Zakrzewski, education director of the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, which studies the psychology, sociology and neuroscience of well-being during a recent Forum radio show. “Some scientists believe that cognitive achievement is 50 percent of the equation and social and emotional skills are the other 50 percent.”

By Katrina Schwartz