Expert Interview: Teaching Empathy in the Classroom

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” William Butler Yeats

A little bit about our expert: Joe Hirsch has taught lower and middle school students at Akiba Academy of Dallas since 2006. He developed curricula for and facilitated Yeshiva University’s online certificate program in differentiated instruction, and received a First Choice Power award for creating innovative character education. A recognized teacher leader, Joe has led workshops and training sessions for teachers, administrators and policy makers nationwide.

GoStrengths! storyteller Renee Jain sits down with Texas-based classroom teacher, Joe Hirsch, to discuss teaching empathy in the classroom. In this interesting exchange, Joe details the “how” of teaching empathy in the classroom using a cooperative learning technique known as the jigsaw method. Originally developed by Elliot Aronson in the 1970s, the jigsaw method promotes the idea that a student can be a teacher as well as a learner. Using jigsaw, Joe explains, can level the playing field for students with different rates of learning. He concludes that even in this “era of unprecedented assessment”, it is possible to educate both the head and the heart.

Read Joe’s original article which inspired this interview here.

Learn more about Joe and his work here.

Watch the full interview above!

1 thought on “Expert Interview: Teaching Empathy in the Classroom”

  1. Teaching empathy in the classroom is so important — studies show that student who go through social-emotional training in their classrooms do better academically and socially. Thanks for sharing your methods, Joe!


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