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Empathy + Thinking = Wise Action

Most people consider empathy—the ability to share and understand the feelings of others —a good thing. Teachers often reach out to us at the Institute for Humane Education for help educating their students to be more empathetic. They recognize that academic education isn’t enough to produce healthy classrooms, let alone to prepare youth to be motivated and engaged citizens who…

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becoming a solutionary

How Evolution Can Help Us Solve Problems: A Conversation with Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison

For my post today, I interviewed Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison about their book, The Hypothetical Species, and their vision of a path toward a restorative future. Michael and Jane run the Dancing Star Foundation, an ecological non-profit devoted to animal protection, biodiversity conservation, and environmental education. For over thirty years they have researched and analyzed…

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A classroom of students and their teacher

Defining Your Purpose as a Teacher

by Zoe Weil At the beginning of the teachers’ workshops I lead, I often facilitate an activity that invites participants to reflect upon their true mission as educators. Their personal missions always differ from the US Department of Education’s, which is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and…

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Dr. Daniel J. Levitin

Thinking Critically in the Post-Truth Era: An Interview With Daniel J. Levitin

by Zoe Weil Daniel J. Levitin is Founding Dean of Arts & Humanities at the Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute, and a Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. He is an award-winning neuroscientist and educator, and his latest book is Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post…

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Ending the Violence With Meaningful Solutions

I am a humane educator, a person dedicated to creating a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world through education. This past week’s killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five Dallas police officers underscore the necessity of educating a generation of solutionaries who have the capacity and the will to prevent such violence from continuing…

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Widening Our Circle of Compassion: An Interview With Animal Rights Photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur

Jo-Anne McArthur’s love of animals began when she was a child. She says, “The neighbour had a backyard dog who didn’t live a very exciting life so I would take him for walks, despite his enormous size and my small stature.” In her 20’s, Jo-Anne realized that she could combine her empathy with her photography…

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What Solutionary Learning Can Look Like: 4 Stories

Transforming our educational system won’t be easy, but I believe that it is the most important and strategic path toward creating more just, peaceful, and sustainable societies populated by healthy, happy, successful people. Because the world inevitably becomes what we teach, it’s up to each of us – whether we are teachers, school administrators, parents,…

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We Must Develop Truly Solutionary Solutions

If you conduct a web search for “kid heroes” you’ll discover wonderful children doing great things. It is inspiring to read their stories, learn about their generosity, and know that kindness and compassion flourish. Yet you’ll likely discover that many of these children are involved in efforts that do not seek to change the systems…

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sea lions

Building Empathy and Critical Thinking: A Lesson About Animals

by Zoe Weil A few years ago at our Summer Residency for educators at the Institute for Humane Education, teacher and IHE grad Betsy Messenger created a lesson on animal issues that was so effective and powerful, I wanted to share it with you. She gathered our group outside and “borrowed” my dogs, whose only…

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MOGO page

Most Good, Least Harm

by Zoe Weil I wanted to share an excerpt from my book, Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life. My book, Most Good, Least Harm, “is based on a very simple premise: when we do the most good and the least harm through our daily choices, our acts…

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