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You Are Therefore I Am: How Empathy Education Can Create Social Change
DOI or Website Link:  
Authors:   Roman Krznaric

Date:   July 2008

"Empathy Education is at the forefront of contemporary education reform. Since the mid 1990s there has been an exponential growth in the teaching of empathy skills in primary and secondary schools in countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as in international schools in many other nations. Today, Empathy Education is more extensive than at any time in the past. This paper is an attempt to map the landscape of Empathy Education around the world. 

Through a series of case studies, it highlights some of the most innovative empathy programmes currently being offered to young people, particularly at the primary level. After clarifying the meaning of empathy, the paper explains why Empathy Education has gained a place on the education policy agenda, and argues that policymakers have failed to recognise the impact that it can have in bringing about social change. The paper concludes by suggesting that Empathy Education programmes could enhance their social impact by expanding to incorporate more global themes, in addition to integrating a greater focus on developing empathy through conversational and experiential learning."

Topic Area: 
 (In which field / sector / perspective was this study conducted?)

(KRZNARIC 2008).d
(How was empathy defined?)
(Were any benefits of empathy mentioned?)
  • "Layard, in particular, puts empathy at the centre of efforts to promote wellbeing"
  • Daniel Goleman, in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998), ‘empathy represents the foundation skill for all the social competencies important for work’. These include: 
    • ‘understanding others’ (sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns); ‘
    • service orientation’ (anticipating, recognizing, and meeting customers’ needs);
    •  ‘developing others’ (sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities); 
    • ‘leveraging diversity’ (cultivating opportunities through diverse people); and
    •  ‘political awareness’ (reading the political and social currents in an organization).

 (What were the methods used to train empathy?)


Target Group:  
(Who participated in this study / training?)

About the assessment: How was the change in empathy measured before/after the intervention/method?) 

(What was the result?)

Mentions five examples of Empathy Education:
  • "1.The Roots of Empathy programme in Canada
  • 2.The Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate
  • 3.Climate Chaos, part of Education for Global Citizenship from Oxfam
  • 4.Through Other Eyes, resources for teaching Social Studies in the United States
  • 5.The Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme for primary schools in England"."

Posted By:  Edwin Rutsch
(Any other relevant information)


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