This year, our school has been working with its family of primary feeder schools and EmpathyLab on an exciting and innovative Wellbeing project. EmpathyLab is the first organisation to help build children’s empathy, literacy and social activism through the use of amazing, empathy-rich literature. In short, the goal is to ‘Read stories. Build Empathy. Make a Better World’. Read more...
We chose to work with EmpathyLab because increasingly, we have been seeing how our young people are having to grow up in a society that has a major lack of empathy skills; hate crimes are at their highest levels since records began, and the negative effects of social media are really worrying.
We believe that our work with EmpathyLab will help our children develop the skills they need to thrive in an ever more complex world. Through reading, they can make connections with other people around the world and learn about their different experiences and perspectives. Through reading they can develop the empathy skills that will help them act in a way that makes the world a better, more inclusive, kind and tolerant place for everyone.
Empathy has been described as a human superpower. It’s our ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings. Empathy is made up of three main elements: feeling, thinking and acting.
Empathy is an essential life skill for all of us.
We’re not born with a fixed quantity of empathy – it’s a skill we can all learn. Excitingly, research shows that books are a powerful tool to develop it. When young people identify with book characters, they learn to see things from others’ points of view. As they read, they are building their empathy skills.
|Don't forget EmpathyLab's brilliant Family Activities Pack, full of brilliant empathy-boosting things to do at home, and available in English or Welsh!|
At Ysgol Harri Tudur we are taking a whole-school approach to our empathy journey as we develop learning experiences for the new Curriculum for Wales. So no matter which subjects students are taking, they will find an increased focus on empathy in their learning. Our faculties, in conjunction with our librarian, have developed lists and packs highlighting empathy-rich resources relating to their subjects. Those currently available are listed below, and more will be added here soon.
EmpathyLab's Family Activities pack contains ten brilliant empathy-boosting things for the whole family to do at home.
You can do the activities in any order and you don’t need specific books to take part. Drawing and craft materials are helpful, but all the activities can be done with just scrap paper and a pen.
Being able to understand how other people think and feel is a vital skill.
Research shows that reading inspires children to talk about emotions and see the world from other people’s perspectives.
|Have you tried any of the activities in the pack with your family? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!|
On Empathy Day 2021 we want everyone to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Taking an Empathy Walk gives us all the opportunity to think about our communities in a very different way.
Take a short walk around your local area. As you walk, use your empathy to imagine yourself in the shoes of the people and situations you see. Maybe a homeless person, an argument, a family having fun. Notice your feelings – puzzled, glad, angry, worried?
Note down what you see and feel, talking together as you go.
When you return, use your reflections to draw a map or some pictures of what you have seen/felt. Or record a short film about your walk.
|Find out more about Empathy Walks on EmpathyLab's website|
|Have you been on an Empathy Walk? Let us know how it went, what you saw and felt, by emailing email@example.com! You could send us a photo of your Empathy Walk map, or some photos of what you have seen/felt. Maybe a photo of the empathy-boosting book you read after your walk.|
Watch A M Dassu, author of Boy, Everywhere, talking about the Empathy Walk she went on with her children.
Boy, Everywhere has gone down very well with Ysgol Harri Tudur students. It was often mentioned in empathy conversations with pupils from years 7 and 8, who have been reading it in mentor groups or English lessons.
Sami from Boy, Everywhere has been nominated in the Ysgol Harri Tudur Empathys as "the character who showed the most empathy".
"The Empathys" are Ysgol Harri Tudur's Oscar-style awards for characters in books we have been reading who showed high levels of empathy, or with whom we as readers could empathise.
Nominations were drawn up, characters were discussed and debated, and voting was held in English and Skills lessons for Years 7 and 8 in April 2021.
The results (see the WINNER badges below) were announced on Empathy Day, 10th June 2021.
Which character did you empathise with the most?
Which character showed the most empathy?
Well done to all these powerful characters we care about, which expand our emotional understanding and help us to see other people’s lives, experiences and perspectives.
Each house at Ysgol Harri Tudur has chosen a focus area to commit their energy to supporting over the coming year. Along with reading a selection of empathy-boosting books linking with their focus, and working on their empathy skills in response to them, they will be using their understanding to help make a difference to related charities and organisations.
Here are just some of the feelings and responses shared by pupils in Years 7 and 8 in their recent empathy conversations. Thank you to all pupils for taking part.
I’ve been reading more since I came to Ysgol Harri Tudur – there’s more choice and I’m finding what I enjoy.
We’re inviting everyone to put their feelings of empathy into concrete action and make an Empathy Resolution.
UPDATE Your posters have started pouring in! View some of the ones we've received already in our Empathy Gallery below!
We’d love you to put your resolution on a poster, and stick that in the window, and take a photo of it and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org! So we can all share how we’re going to use empathy to make a difference in our communities. Your resolution could be anything, big or small:
You can find out more about Empathy Resolutions on EmpathyLab's website.
|Michael Morpurgo will be sharing his thoughts on empathy in action, and authors Nathan Bryon and Rashmi Sirdeshpande will be sharing their Empathy Resolution posters, from 2:45 p.m. on Empathy Day, Thursday 10th June 2021.|
If you want, you can download this poster to decorate and add your resolution (but you can create a poster from scratch if you prefer).
Examples of empathy-related displays and work by pupils in Ysgol Harri Tudur in 2021. Click any picture in the gallery to start a slideshow.
EMPATHY RESOLUTION POSTERS
A selection of posters created by Ysgol Harri Tudur students, sharing their empathy resolutions
WELCOME AND INFORMATION SCREENS ACROSS SCHOOL