Empathy 101

Below are videos from Ashoka's 'Empathy 101' Video Series -- where leading innovators and educators explain (in two minutes or less) how to cultivate empathy.

Related TopicsCivic Engagement, Empathy, Every Child Practicing Empathy

Stories


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.

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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.

 

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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.

Part 3 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Validate every voice

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

Part 4 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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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.

Part 5 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Build Relationships

(Hint: Differences are a good thing.)

How to Change the World author David Bornstein shares the key to moral imagination.

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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.

 

Part 7 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Experience + Response = Outcome

Understanding others begins at home: Fresh Lifelines for Youth's Aila Malik shares a powerful tool for facilitating self-understanding.

Part 8 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Imagine.

Duke University's Robert Thompson explains the intersection between empathy, creativity, and imagination.

 

Part 9 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Unlock what kids are born with. (Play!)

Look at what kids come with, not what they lack, says Katherine Dinh, Head of Prospect Sierra. Rally kids around a common goal for social good, and create a culture in which empathy is valued, measured, and pervasive.

 

Part 10 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Fill your teammates' emotional tanks

Winning requires not just playing at your best, but helping your teammates play better too, says Ashoka Fellow and Positive Coaching Alliance founder Jim Thompson. The key? Empathy.

 

Part 11 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Reflect within. Listen without.

Our social systems often encourage us to suppress our innate capacities for empathy. Ashoka Fellow David Castro, founder of I-LEAD, shares what we can do to restore those skills.

 

Part 12 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Begin at home

Practicing empathy shouldn't be confined to a classroom, says Ashoka Fellow and Founder of One World Now! Kristin Hayden. It's something we can practice daily, through everyday moments.

 

Part 13 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Flatten hierarchy

Empathy is a lifestyle, not an event, says Ashoka Fellow and Founder of Threshold Collaborative Alisa Del Tufo.

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Don't react, absorb

How many times have you sat through a conversation thinking about what you're going to say, rather than what's being said? NoVo Foundation's Robert Sherman has a simple answer for what mastering empathy means.

 

Part 15 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Integrate the personal and professional

Cultivating empathy is as much about modeling it yourself as it is developing it in others, says Mary Watson, Associate Dean at The New School. And that requires working environments that break down the walls between the personal and professional.

 

Part 16 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Infuse empathy in all subject matter

Empathy isn't a subject you set aside for 30 minutes a day: it's something that must be infused throughout the school day. Margot Locker, of Harvard's GoodWork Project, gives us a window into how.

 

Part 17 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Listen to others' needs

Empathy isn't about presuming what another person needs, says Prospect Sierra's Mark Basnage. It requires actively listening, and learning to separate your judgments from another's person's reality.
 

Part 18 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Articulate others' feelings

Noted researcher - and parent - Chris Adkins explains the difference between "self-focused" empathy and "other-focused" empathy, and how to cultivate the latter, whether you're a parent or a CEO.
 

Part 19 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

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Serve

Robert Ashcraft of Arizona State University's Lodestar Center shares one of the best lessons in empathy he received as a teen, learned at the foot of a hospital bed.
 

Part 20 of our series on Empathy 101 (view the rest below)

 

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