Here are some challenges you might try to learn about and practice EMPATHY. It's one of the most important things you can learn in school, even if it is not something you usually find on a course syllabus. To learn more, take a look below to see if there is a challenge that intrigues or inspires you... and for more information about writing up your blog post, see the extra credit challenges page.

Learn about empathy. Read about empathy (or watch a video) and share your thoughts in a blog. I've bookmarked some good resources here: Empathy Resources. Feel free to repeat this challenge as many times as you want... there are so many good resources to learn from online. Just to take one example, here is a wonderful video by Brene Brown: On Empathy.

Share a resource
. Do you have a video or online article about empathy that you would like to recommend? That would be great! Write up a post about the resource and why you like it (if it's a video, include the video in your post; here's how), and then I'll add it to the class resources.

Explore PostSecret. Have you ever visited PostSecret? It's a pretty amazing project, and the founder of PostSecret, Frank Warren, is very motivated by the idea of empathy: "Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart. If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world." So, take some time to browse around the PostSecret site and write up your thoughts. Maybe you will even want to create a card and send it to PostSecret! One student in this class used PostSecret as a storytelling style, creating postcards for each story.

Watch for empathy. As you go about your daily life, keep an eye out for empathy. Who do you see practicing empathy...? Maybe it is someone you see at school or in your workplace or among your friends or in your family. Pay attention to what you see and hear, and think about what you can learn from the person and how they practice empathy. You might even talk to them about it and find out just how they developed their empathy skills.

Stories about empathy. You can explore the theme of empathy in the stories you are reading for class each week! For this challenge, find a story or episode in a story that you read for class this week (or in a previous week) and see how a character in that story demonstrates empathy or lack of empathy. Is there something you can learn from the character(s) to apply to your own life...?
Even better: create your own empathy story. When you do your storytelling for the week, focus on the theme of empathy. Tell a story where you emphasize how the main character does (or does not) practice empathy, and then talk about the theme of empathy in your author's note. Then, in your blog post for the Learning Challenge, explain how and why you chose the story and the changes you made to the story to bring out the empathy theme.

Practice listening. One of the really powerful components of empathy is listening — not just passive listening, but really engaged listening. I'd suggest listening to this TED talk: Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better, and then see what you can put into practice. Afterwards, share what you learned in a blog post.

Find a favorite empathy meme. I've got some empathy memes, quotes, and cartoons here at this blog, so you can browse around and see if you find one that really grabs you, and then write a blog post with the item and your thoughts about it. Or maybe you have some memes or quotes or cartoons about empathy that you have saved and can share in a blog post: that would be great! To do the challenge, find your favorite(s) either here at the blog or on the Internet, and then share that in a blog post at your blog, with your thoughts and comments.

Make an empathy meme. Maybe you know some powerful inspirational words about empathy. If you do, then make a meme to share those words, perhaps together with an image. There are lots of meme makers and quote makers you can use, such as Canva, Cheezburger, and many more. For example, I used Automotivator to make a meme for the words of PostSecret's founder, Frank Warren (see above) and I published that in a blog post. So, using some kind of meme maker or quote maker, create an inspirational empathy meme and share that at your blog.


  1. Great post, Laura - practising engaged listening is something that should be encouraged and worked upon throughout life - the benefits for all those involved are immeasurable.

  2. Thanks, Paul! I will be sharing back at G+ how this goes. Growth mindset was such a big plus last semester that I am really optimistic for this too. :-)