Empathic Education: A Call to Arms

According to ancient stories, man’s state of being is “most conducive for developing wisdom and compassion because of its particular mixture of pain and pleasure… The combination of pain and pleasure … provides the best circumstances for deep understanding and realization” of what life is all about (see Seeking the Heart of Wisdom by Goldstein & Kornfield, p. 140). In the animal kingdom, or lower planes, there is a great deal of suffering and in the highest planes or heaven, there is no suffering at all. We have the perfect built for empathy, compassion, and wisdom.

Charter for Compassion
I had the honor of meeting Karen Armstrong in Boston in 2011 at a conference on leadership. Karen created the charter of compassion. The charter provides opportunities for man to practice empathy. Have you signed the charter for compassion?

What is Empathy?
“Empathy is the ability to look at a situation from another point of view. It is the basis of caring relationships and allows us to connect and understand those who may be different from ourselves” (Kimberly Hunter). Empathy knows no borders and connects all of humanity.

Photo/Video Credit: George C. Anderson Photography Inc.

Photo/Video Credit: George C. Anderson Photography Inc.

Dr. Carol Engler is a 40-year veteran of education. She served for 30 years in the Akron, Ohio public schools as an urban high school administrator, counselor, and teacher. In 2002, she joined the Ashland University faculty in Ashland, Ohio.

She is currently associate professor of Educational Administration. She has won numerous awards in the field of education, both as a public school professional and university faculty member.  Carol first became interested in the subject of empathy, when she served as a research assistant at a medical school. Her doctoral dissertation, published in 1980, was a two- year study on medical students acquisition and retention of empathy skill training. At that time, medical schools were under pressure to provide interview skill training that would increase patient compliance with medication and decrease malpractice suits against doctors.

Fast forward to 2011, when Carol undertook a year’s research to come up with a new concept in education: empathic education. She designed this concept in response to the increased need for collaboration in a world that is in an energy crunch, uses social media instead of face –to-face interactions, and relies on a 19th century industrial revolution model in schools. It’s time for a change. Carol has the following quote on her Facebook page for Empathc Education: A Call to Arms:

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new ~ Socrates

Empathic Education
Empathic Education teaches peope to walk in the shoes of others through immersion. Immersion can include reflection, service learning, or in the most cutting edge manner of the 21st century, video gaming. With the discovery of mirror (empathy) neurons in our brains, it has been learned that empathy can not only be taught, but also measured.

Kids are More Than Test Scores

Conversation with Dr. Carol Engler
You are invited to a conversation with Carol Engler and Dr. Nellie Deutsch on empathic education on WizIQ. The webinar will take place on WizIQ on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 10 AM EST (check your time zone).

Dr. Nellie Deutsch has a doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum, technology, and instruction. She conducts research and writes on fully online and blended learning programs, presents online and face-to-face at conferences, and organizes professional development workshops to educators worldwide. Nellie is passionate about learning and helping others reach their goals. She has a relationship-based learner-centred approach to life and learning. She consults, writes, and presents (face-to-face & fully online) on e-learning. She uses Moodle for her course management system and WizIQ education online to connect to colleagues and students in real time. Nellie is a faculty member of Atlantic University and the University of Phoenix, the program coordinator at the World Association for Online Education (WAOE), on the program committee and reviewer at EdMedia, on the steering committee for computer assisted language learning interest section (CALL-IS) at TESOL International Association, and on IATEFL YLT SIG. She's manager, designer & lead facilitator of Moodle for Teachers (M4T) workshops at Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL). Nellie has been an ambassador to WizIQ since 2007. She organizes annual and tri-annual MOOCs such as Moodle MOOC in June, October, and February, Second Life MOOC in April, and Well-Being MOOC in September, online conferences such as CO09-CO14 on February, and Moodlemoot 2011-2014 in August that are sponsored by WizIQ.


  • Reply April 22, 2013

    Navleen Kaur

    In my opinion, the decreased human interaction is definitely one of the prime reasons for decreased empathy for fellow men. There is suffering and pain in the world but still there is compassion and we do tend to find it in the oddest of all places. I am looking forward to the conversation. :) Could you please add the link to the conversation? Thanks Doctor.

  • Reply April 23, 2013

    robert mccall

    Hi Nellie – you´re asking the big questions here. Look I think most of us are all naturally compassionate and empathetic and I do not see these problems in my day to day life – but I live in a small town, in a very tight community where we all help each other. I think we can feel very positive about the future, especially with this new found ability to live where we want, and do whatever we want – online. I do wish however more people gave back. Consumerism is self defeating whilst philanthropy is elevating in my mind, Anyway, nice to start the day with some empathy – thanks!

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