Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

3 Videos on the Importance of Empathy

These three videos on the importance of empathy will help inspire a conversation in the classroom and beyond. 

January 29, 2016

When you're having a tough day, the support of friends and colleagues is essential. That's why empathy -- that ability we all have to identify with other people's struggles and support them through hardships -- is so important. 

In the video above, Brene Brown (also the author of a much-beloved TED talk on the power of vulnerability) explains the difference between sympathy and empathy in this adorably-animated video from the RSA. For more information on why empathy matters for schools, read Lauren Owens' post "Empathy in the Classroom: Why Should I Care?"

Another video worth watching is this one from Ashoka's Start Empathy project. For ideas about how to open up a conversation about empathy with students, see how the kids at a Bronx public school define the term.

Starting a conversation is a great first step for students, but there are many ways to create a lasting impact around SEL learning. If you want to go deeper, Rusul Alrubail has written a great guide on how to use design thinking to teach empathy here.

Finally, we know that people can definitely feel empathy for other people, but what about animals? Do your pets feel empathy for you? The folks at the Verge unravel some of the scientific research behind empathic responses.

We've previously featured 2 of these videos on empathy elsewhere on Edutopia, but they're so good, we think they're worth revisiting. Tell us how you practice empathy in your classroom (and beyond) in the comments below! 

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