Start Empathy

Menu

Empathy 101

Hannah Borowsky |

Screenshot (23)

Lesson #1: Feel. Imagine. Do. Share.
Ashoka Fellow Kiran Bir Sethi talks about the role of empathy in design and problem-solving. Empathy is not simply about feeling for another person: it’s how we distinguish the real problem from its superficial effects, involve those served in the solution itself, and encourage others to feel the same way.

Lesson #2: Parents – Start by sharing, not by asking
Empathy is something we can intentionally cultivate, not teach directly, says Ashoka Fellow Mary Gordon, Founder of Roots of Empathy. For parents, that begins with sharing your own feelings and experiences, which grows with children’s emotional literacy.

Lesson #3: Live it.
Real social change begins at home, says Ashoka Fellow Eric Dawson, Founder of Peace First. So next time you ask, “how are you?” pause before rushing off without hearing the answer.

Lesson #4: Validate every voice.
Author, noted academic, and one-time high school English teacher, Tony Wagner shares the key to building empathy in every student.

Lesson #5: Transform the helped to helper.
The key to cultivating empathy? Enable others to pay it forward, says Ashoka Fellow and founder of Time Banks, Edgar Cahn.

Lesson #6: Build Relationships. (Hint: Differences are a good thing.)
How to Change the World author David Bornstein shares the key to moral imagination.

Lesson #7: Practice before you teach.
Forget formulas and textbook responses: empathy is about listening, says Teaching Empathy author David Levine. And that begins with teachers’ relationships to their students.

Related Resources

What Do You Have To Say?

Join the Conversation on #StartEmpathy

Get Updates

Ashoka Fellows: Creative Visionaries Committed to Solving Social Problems

Learn More

Get a Book, Give a Book:
Support Changemaker Teachers!

Ashoka is excited to bring together leading Changemaker educators to create a book about the importance of empathy and changemaking in the classroom.

Your support will help us:

  • Provide a facilitated experience for our writers
  • Print and distribute copies to teachers
  • Produce supplementary tools and materials
DONATE TODAY

Make a donation and receive a copy of the finished book for yourself, and one for your favorite educator!

Unable to donate? Share this cause with others!