Roots of empathy: an interview with Mary Gordon – by Faye Sakellaridis

Is empathy something that can be taught in schools? openDemocracy talks to Mary Gordon, founder of Roots of Empathy, who believes that empathy is central to a successful democracy, and can be “caught but not so easily taught:

What’s the measure of a good education, and what do you want your children to learn in school? Basic proficiency in language, literacy and mathematics perhaps, or a marketable set of skills, or is the purpose of education something deeper?

In today’s hyper-competitive culture where standardized test results are used as a proxy for educational advancement, what chance is there for schools to develop creativity, critical thinking, human solidarity and civic skills?


Empathy is often deemed a “soft skill” in
schools, in contrast to mathematics or literacy.
What’s so important about
empathy in education?