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Empathy’s Role in Education

Written by Zoe Weil | 2 Comments | Published on January 26, 2011 | Filed under Humane Connection
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2011/01/26/empathys-role-in-education/

Check out this TEDx talk by Sam Richards, a sociology professor and co-director of Race Relations at Penn State:

At the Institute for Humane Education, we identify four elements as key to providing quality humane education. They include:

  1. Providing accurate information about pressing issues and challenges of our time.
  2. Fostering the 3 Cs of curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking.
  3. Instilling the 3 Rs of reverence, respect, and responsibility.
  4. Offering positive choices and the tools for becoming a solutionary.

Note how masterfully Sam Richards, in just 19 minutes, manages to employ the first three elements, while leaving viewers pondering their choices and their roles in addressing some of the challenges we face. What I particularly appreciate, as a humane educator, is that the entire talk, entitled “A Radical Experiment in Empathy,” is aimed at evoking the compassion that can lead us toward critical and creative thinking and problem-solving for a better world.

This is such an important talk which everyone should see, and a incredibly useful tool for teachers exploring complex, challenging, and critical issues in classrooms.

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, The Power and Promise of Humane Education, and Above All, Be Kind

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