The Instructional Power of Creativity, Design and Empathy in High School Curriculum

When you walk into the large basement of the church and look at the faces and ages of the group, you are looking at the reality of homelessness in Washington, D.C. Each person’s story and struggle vary. As part of the Identity and Service Learning class, ninth grade students from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland are dining with the meal participants as a way to hear and understand the stories and apply a creative and empathic design process to solve some of the challenges they hear about.


…But schools today must do more than simply illicit emotion – they must inspire creativity and engage students in the process of empathic design….


We use empathy to guide research and creativity to design solutions. Through the design process, students can give tangible expression to the meaning they experience. Schools should be the place where students’ creativity is combined with deep content, relevant skills and innovative finesse.


Encouraging empathic engagement in this way brings out the best in our students, allows for creative thinking, and nurtures the well being of all involved. 


by Charles James