Expert Commentators for Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters
Meet our Expert Commentators who are doing great work in the sector and sharing their insights, expertise and feedback with competition entrants.
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. Empathic Education teaches kids 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. Visit her website here and take 3 minutes to view her new video on the homepage.
Edwin Rutsch is the founding director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. He is a world traveler, a 'seeker', a documentary film maker and has worked in the computer technology field. His interest in human values lead him to see the central importance of empathy for humanity and he has dedicated his life to promoting it in society. The http://CultureOfEmpathy.com website is the largest internet resource for empathy and has over 30,000 supporters.
Stan Davis has worked for human rights in many different ways. In the 1960s he worked in the US Civil Rights movement. As a social worker and child and family therapist in the 1970s and 1980s, he worked with abused, traumatized, and grieving children and trained Child Protective Workers. He designed and implemented training for a network of rape crisis centers and collaborated with police to develop effective interventions for domestic abuse. In 1985 he became a school counselor. After working in High School and Middle School he moved to the James H. Bean elementary school in Sidney, Maine, where he continued to work until retiring from counseling in 2011. Since the mid-1990s he has put his energies toward helping schools prevent bullying. Stan’s work has been featured in newspaper, radio, and TV articles and on a special 20/20 report on bullying with John Stossel. He is the author of the 2004 book Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Practical Strategies to Reduce Bullying (2nd edition 2007) and the 2007 book Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention. Schools Where Everyone Belongs was published in Spanish in 2008. Stan has presented keynotes and workshops at conferences and trained school staff and students in 31 US states, in Canada, in India, and in Africa since the 1990s.With Dr. Charisse Nixon, Stan is co-leading the Youth Voice Research Project, which has collected information from more than 13,000 young people in the United States about what works and what doesn't work in bullying prevention.
Joan Cole Duffell is Executive Director of Committee for Children, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the safety, well-being and social development of children through the provision and support of research-based educational programs for educators, families and communities. Over the past thirty years, Ms. Duffell has been an educator, prevention specialist, writer, lecturer, and leading advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse, bullying, and youth violence. She began her career as an educator, teaching kindergarten to abused children in a treatment setting. Now an internationally recognized leader in the fields of child abuse prevention and social-emotional learning, she currently co-chairs the national Social-Emotional Learning Program Provider Council, which is convened by CASEL, the national Collaborative for Social, Emotional and Academic Learning. She champions a preventive approach to social problems, primarily focused on teaching social and emotional skills to children, families and educators.
Guillermina has always been passionate about the changes that the civil society can make,so she has been steadily working for fifteen years at different social organizations in Argentina contributing to the sector’s development. As a specialist in organizational change, she has written and published articles and papers analyzing the growth of civil society in Argentina. Guillermina has worked at Ashoka for eight years actively helping out with the development of the Southern Cone office, first as the coordinator of Moviliza Initiative and then, searching and selecting Social Entrepreneurs. For the past four years, Guillermina has been the regional director for the Southern Cone. Thanks to her leadership, this office has managed to develop its own diversified funds aimed at fostering entrepreneurial development as well as consolidating a varied and booming ecosystem of entrepreneurs. She has a degree in Political Science (UCA) and a postgraduate degree in Social Organizations (UDESA-UTDT-CEDES). Guillermina is married and has two sons.
Neil is a former engineer turned educator. Having worked in the computer networking industry, he realized one of the biggest technological challenges in education is how to make the same quality of resources accessible to schools who are not connected to the world through the Internet. Sighting this as one of the biggest limitation for rural schools around the world to access great education content, he started an initiative called "Teach A Class" which setup education hotspots preloaded with content from all around the world, to schools in remote towns. Under his leadership the program has expanded to Indonesia , Mongolia and now India. He strongly believes that technology alone will not solve the problem that we face in the education sector, but how teachers and students use it as a tool will define the future . This is why most of Teach A Class programs are centered around empowering local teachers and students who participate at every stage of the project. Neil strongly believes that students are the best teachers and wants to develop technologies which let students participate in their own learning. You can check out his talk on TEDxUlaanbaatar here.
Pankaj Dubey is the founder and ‘Chief Functionary’ of SPRIHA. With an idea and motivation to utilise his education and experience in media and communication, Pankaj took up the cause of ‘EMPATHY BUILDING’ in children. He has curated India’s first traveling street film festival for children in slums and villages, ‘Sadak Chhaap Film Fest’ to reach out to the underprivileged children. Pankaj has been awarded the 'Youth Icon Award for Social Entrepreneurship' in Karnataka in December 2010, mentored by Dr APJ Kalam. Pankaj has been a journalist with the BBC World Service, London and TV Today Network, India. He is a Law graduate from Delhi University with a Masters in Applied Communications from the Coventry University, England.
Luciana graduated in Mathematics, with a Master in Communication Sciences at the School of Communication and Arts, University of São Paulo (ECA / USP). PhD in Education at University of São Paulo (USP). She has been working for over a decade in the area of Educational Informatics, especially in activities related to teacher training. In this context, she participated in the preparation of documents for the Ministry of Education (National Curriculum - PCNs and PCNs in Action Structural Concepts ) and as a lecturer in courses and of the School of the Future (Escola do Futuro) - University of São Paulo (USP). Luciana has worked for 5 years as Technical Agent of the program ‘Sua Escola a 2000 por Hora’, at Instituto Ayrton Senna. At Instituto Crescer, she holds the position of Technical Director, participating in the development and management of projects focused on social inclusion.
Noble Kelly has been a Business and ICT educator at the secondary level in British Columbia since 1991 and has a Post Baccalaureate in Educational Technology. Mr. Kelly has served as a coordinator of school and district-based ICT committees and has worked as a teacher mentor and trainer for the Simon Fraser University T.L.I.T.E (Teaching and Learning in an Information Technological Environment) Post Baccalaureate program. He has facilitated workshops to teachers as part of his role as a member of the Peace and Global Education action group for the British Columbia Teachers' Federation and has done many years of policy development, workshops, and advocacy to create inclusive and safe schools for all. He is also doing capacity-building and development work in South Africa, Ethiopia, Guyana, Tanzania and Kenya, with the main focus being education reform, teacher professional development and appropriate use and integration of ICT to engage learners within a cultural/local context. In 2007, Mr. Kelly founded Education Beyond Borders (www.educationbeyondborders.org), a non-profit NGO focused on advancing and supporting the movement for educators and advocates for quality education to do our part in supporting a collaborative and participatory approach with our colleagues and their students in disadvantaged regions in developing and implementing systemic strategies to foster quality education and learning globally.
Dara Feldman is Director of Education and a Master Facilitator for The Virtues Project, offering keynotes, workshops and retreats transforming school culture and empowering students, educators and families to thrive. Dara is a National Board Certified Teacher and was honored as Disney’s 2005 Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year and Educator of the Year for the National Association for Self Esteem in 2009. In addition to 16 years as a classroom teacher, 5 years as an instructional technology specialist and 2 years as an instructional coach, Dara was the Director of Curriculum Development for PowerUP, where she worked to bridge the Digital Divide, an expert consultant with the USDE's Web-based Education Commission where she helped write The Power of The Internet for Learning, and co-creator of the Early Childhood Technology Literacy Project, which was nominated by Steve Jobs of Apple Computer and won the Computerworld Smithsonian Award in Education and Academia in 2000. Dara is the past president of The Maryland Center for Character Education, past president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children's Technology Special Interest Forum, a trainer for the Character Education Partnership, a Google Certified Teacher and an Apple Distinguished Educator.
Zaki Hasan is currently serving Room to Read as the organization's Country Director for Bangladesh. He has worked in various sub-sectors of education including Early Childhood Development, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Adult Education, and ICT-aided Education. He is currently a member of Bangladesh government's committee for revising the primary education curriculum. He has numerous publications against his name including as editor of more than 20 children books. He has worked for several non-profit international organizations such as Save The Children, ActionAid, and Helen Keller Intl. Zaki Hasan is an Eisenhower Fellow.
Dr. Richard Majors is currently the Director of the Applied Centre of Emotional Literacy Leadership and Research (ACELLR) and Director of Innovation at Wolverhampton College. He is an Educational Psychologist and a visiting/adjunct professor at the University of Colorado in the United States, who has been working in the UK for over 10 years. He is the founder and former editor of the Journal of African American Studies (formerly the Journal of African American Men), one of the largest ethnic journals in the United States. He was also a former Clinical Fellow in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He taught a short course on gender at Cambridge University. Recently, he wrote the lead expert court statement in the UK high court for the landmark cornrow case, SG vs St.Gregorys Science School, which successfully overturned previous policy and legislation that prevented Black children from being able to wear cornrows and braids in school. Dr. Majors has also met with members of the Clinton Administration to discuss youth policy. He is the author of 3 books and dozens of scholarly articles. His book Cool Pose (1992), was submitted for Pulitzer Prize by the publisher and was on the publisher’s bestsellers list in 1992. Recently, he was selected to be on a Ministerial Working Group for Education and Gangs.
Bukik is a unique, creative and strategic person. His passion is to facilitate creative change process of organizations, companies, and communities based on their strength. His mission is to create the ideal Indonesia; Indonesia we imagine. For now, Bukik is developing Indonesia Bercerita, a social entrepreneurship with “Mendidik Melalui Cerita” mission chosen for The Most Inspiring Aksi KlikHati 2011, Bubu Awards v.7 for education and Best of The Best Web 2011 category, and Platinum Award 2011 from InternetSehat.or.id. Bukik is active as a netizen in his blog and Twitter account Bukik.com & twitter @Bukik. Through social media, he persuades people to think different, create creative ideas and positive changes. He initiates many ideas such as #IndonesiaJujur, @BincangEdukasi, and @DancingLeader. He was chosen as Digital Community Leader Bubu Awards v.o7 2011 finalist and YWN 100 – the most influencing Netizens of 2011 by The Marketeers magazine.
Maria Fonseca has been working for social change organizations for the last 12 years. She started working as program officer for Fundacion Leer, providing support and training for innovative programs around education in Argentina. Her willingness to start doing something different around corporate social responsibility took her to work at an Ashoka Fellow organization, Fundacion Compromiso. At Compromiso Maria was able to implement and learn about CSR strategies by working with the corporate sector. She is now the Venture/Fellowship Coordinator for Ashoka in the Southern Cone providing support to more than 90 Ashoka Fellows in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile as well as selecting Fellows. She has a Bachelors degree in Education (Universidad Católica de Santiago del Estero) and an graduate studies in Arts Management and Communication (FACSO). In her free time she loves to dance, do yoga and reading books.
Alissa is the eldest daughter of the late Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), 4th president of Indonesia who strongly advocates tolerance on interfaith relation and cultural diversity. She currently directs and manages GUSDURian, a vast network of independent local communities all over Indonesia inspired and dedicated to cultivate pluralism and humanity values. She also founded Sapa Persada Indonesia, an organization focused on humanitarian works as well as capacity building for youth volunteers. Alissa is a family psychologist by training. Following her interest in education, she established an early childhood development centre in Yogyakarta.
Roser is currently working on the expansion of Service-Learning in Spain. Service-learning programs enable young people to develop the skill of empathy, increase academic knowledge, and grow skills through active involvement a community-based project. Roser was previously an educator and trainer in non-formal education for NGOs and local governments. She has also worked as a special education teacher and was a co-founder of several educational youth movements and social foundations. A published author, Roser has written books about Service-Learning curriculum as well as textbooks about Citizenship Education. In Spain, she is a member of the board of Centre Promotor Aprenentatge Servei and Fundación Zerbikas, and is a founder and a member of the Spanish Service-Learning Network as well as a member of the Service-Learning Iberoamericana Network.
Izabella Little-Gates is the author of the best-selling and internationally published Life Talk series. She is an accomplished businesswoman, inspiring motivational speaker, mother, and founder of the Life Talk Forum for parents and teens. Izabella works extensively on youth issues and frequently appears as a guest on radio and TV. The Life Talk books have been translated into Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Afrikaans. Izabella’s latest initiative is based on her much anticipated new book the Tug-of-Life. Not only is it a unique and entertaining handbook, the Tug-of-Life is also a methodology, a game plan for life and a global, life-changing initiative. Find out more on www.tugoflife.com, join the discussions on Facebook (tug-of-life) and ‘tug’ on Twitter @TugOfLife.
Ana Rosa Bordin
Ana Rosa Bordin coordinates the communication department of the organization Mais Diferenças. She has a degree in Education with a specialization in Business Administration from Mackenzie University and a post-graduate degree in Art Therapy from the Institute Sedes Sapientiae.
Tania is a clinical psychologist, with a post-graduate degree in Neuropsychology, a Masters in Health Education, and a Doctorate in Forensic Sciences. She is a psychologist at Psicronos/Ktree and the Director of PortalBullying - an online help center. She is also a lecturer and university professor.