Empathy Week is commencing their week-long programme next month, using film to teach school students skills of empathy and leadership.
The global programme was started in 2020 by ex-teacher Ed Kirwan and has already engaged 100,000 students in over 40 countries across the world. The programme was designed by qualified teachers in the UK and offers an approach to teaching empathy in the long term that can fit around any timetable or curriculum.
Kirwan said: “Having been a teacher myself, I saw the lack of leadership skills, confidence and perspective in my students. Empathy Week arose from the need to engage young people, empower them and upskill them to become more socially and emotionally intelligent. Empathy is the most important leadership and life skill for us.”
The next Empathy Week will take place between 21-25 February 2022 and will showcase a series of films centred around five young and inspiring individuals from the UK. This year’s theme is ‘Passion and Purpose’. The films focus on themes of racism, gender equality, Downs Syndrome, the power of sport, immigration and more.
Empathy Week arose from the need to engage young people, empower them and upskill them to become more socially and emotionally intelligent – Ed Kirwan, Empathy Week
The initiative wants to achieve an ‘Empathy Generation’ as part of their mission, believing empathy has the potential to increase creativity and academic achievement. The programme caters to students aged 5-18 and includes a range of lesson plans and resources for teachers.
The programme also features an empathy action project, which will be judged at a virtual Global Empathy Awards ceremony by Gavin Dykes, director of the Education World Forum, Dr Melissa Collins, a principal and global top 50 teacher prize finalist, and Ger Graus, global director of Education for Kidzania.
Amanda Strachan, assistant primary headteacher at Dubai British School, UAE, which are taking part again this year, said: “We absolutely loved Empathy Week and we got lots of thoughtful discussions out of it.
“The resources and videos were fantastic and really exposed the children to lots of social issues that they might not be exposed to here in Dubai. We also had some lovely feedback from parents that this was then being discussed around the dinner table.”
You might also like: Building empathy and respect amongst students through real-world immersive learning