Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools To Teach What Matters
After careful deliberation, 14 winners have been chosen from 628 entries as innovative models with strong potential to scale. Together, along with every entrant from the competition, we hope to create a world guided by empathy and collaboration, one led by empowered young people who succeed in the classroom and in every walk of life.
Check out the 14 winners:
- Literacy and Cultural Connections (Changing Worlds)
- How can we stop bullying through student empathy? (No Bully)
People's Choice Award:
- Sports for Sharing (United Nations Youth Association, Mexico)
Mattel Prize for Play:
- Transcending Boundaries Through Play (Red Nose Foundation)
- Sports for Sharing (United Nations Youth Association in Mexico)
- Dance 4 Peace
- The Equal Opportunity Game: A Workshop for Youth (Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center)
Donorschoose.org and Townsend Press Prize:
- Creating a Generation of Empathetic Heroes (Heroic Imagination Project)
- Compassionate Campus (Journey School)
- Mountain Mahogany Community School
- The Bullying Academy (Students in the Know Foundation)
- Alice's Story: an interactive, anti-bullying performance and workshop (Making Books Sing, Inc.)
1440 Foundation Prize:
- Mindful Brains In Schools (BrainBot, Inc.)
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize
- Compassionate Campus (Journey School)
- Morningside Center (Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility)
- Training Teachers to Activate Empathy in Classrooms (Center for Inspired Teaching)
To view details about these prizes and their sponsors, visit the competition’s prize page.
Inspired by the finalists? Want to share your own innovation? Create a changeshop to showcase and grow your impact.
Why Activating Empathy?
Empathy is a critical skill in a world defined by rapid change--one that is foundational to the social, teamwork and leadership skills required to contribute successfully to society.
As the pace of change accelerates, the level of empathy required to collaborate in the workplace, or on other types of teams that bring change to the world, is higher than ever before.
If you aren’t proficient in empathy, you’re severely limiting your opportunities to contribute to society, and are at risk of being left behind. If we are to create a world where everyone can be a player, provide input, and create value, we must grasp, practice, and develop empathy.
Empathy is more than just awareness and concern. It is about cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution. It’s about the ability to communicate effectively and understand the motivations of others. Empathy is about standing up, not standing by, uncovering what’s below the surface through active listening and putting words into action.
This is why Ashoka is launching a global initiative to ensure that children master empathy, enabling them to be effective citizens, leaders and trailblazers.
Creating the future we envision demands we rethink our approach to school culture
and curricula. By launching an online collaborative competition, Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters,we’re challenging teachers, principals, parents, students, and other innovators to share ideas—whether by a project, a program, or a new learning experience—for advancing empathy in education.
Enter the competition today to share your passion for creating a world guided by empathy and collaboration, one led by empowered young people who succeed in the classroom and in every walk of life.
Guidelines and Criteria
- Who Should Enter
- Competition Guidelines
- Assessment Criteria
- Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules
- Disclaimer—Compliance with Legal Restrictions
Who Should Enter
If you are a teacher, principal, parent, student, or other innovator with a project, a program, or a new learning experience that can advance empathy in education, we are looking for you.
Why you should enter:
- Connect to a global online community that supports the impact you are making on the ground.
- Gain visibility with our community and recognition as a new best practice in education. Contribute to your community and become part of a movement to activate empathy!
- Gain funding for your initiative.
- A chance to win:
- One of five exclusive consultation sessions with an Ashoka fellow, including experts from the empathy leadership team (if you enter before February 23, 2012).
- More than $110,000 in cash and in-kind prizes from Ashoka’s Changemakers, Mattel, 1440 Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Donor’s Choose and Townsend Press. For more information, please see the Prizes page.
How to enter:
- Take a look at this video, or review these step-by-step instructions.
- Read through these tips about how to make your entry stand out.
- Read all the fine print below to learn more about how you can win.
The competition is open to all individuals, organizations, and collaborations from all countries.
We consider all entries that:
- Reflect the theme of the competition: Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters.
- Identify solutions that enable children to be effective citizens, leaders, and changemakers by equipping them with the skills to understand the perspectives of others.
- Indicate growth beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated impact and sustainability.
- While we support new ideas at every stage and encourage their entry, the judges are better able to evaluate programs that are beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated proof of impact.
Please complete the entry form in its entirety and submit by March 30, 2012.
Winners of the Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters competition will be those that best meet the following criteria:
- This is the knock-out test. The best entries describe a systemic or disruptive innovation with the potential to ensure that children master empathy, enabling them to be effective citizens, leaders, and trailblazers.
- Judges will be looking for the best ideas, programs, and learning models from around the world that advance empathy in education. These initiatives might include encouraging social and emotional development; unlocking new ways of viewing problems; championing children as real-world problem solvers rather than simply bystanders; or other transformative approaches that you have developed. Learn more about "advancing empathy" here
- The competition is looking for breakthrough innovations that envision how schools can integrate empathy learning into their curricula and culture. Innovations at any stage of development are welcome.
- The most successful entries will embed metrics for impact in the design, even if at this stage they are only in the design or prototype phase.
- Priority will be placed on solutions within or in partnership with a school, school district, or other education network.
- Judges will be looking for a clear “road map” for increasing impact and creating lasting change.
- Entries should describe not only how they currently finance their work, but also how they plan to finance in the future. They should also have a realistic time frame for implementation.
Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules
Online competition submissions are accepted until March 30, 2012. At any time before this deadline, competition participants are encouraged to revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive in the Changemakers discussion. Participation in the discussion enhances an entrant’s prospects in the competition, and provides the Changemakers community and judges an opportunity to understand the entrant’s project more completely.
There are four main phases in the competition:
- Entry Stage, January 19 – March 30, 2012: Entries can be submitted until 5PM EDT on the day of the deadline, and throughout this stage anyone can participate in an online review discussion with the entrants.
- Early Entry Deadline, February 23, 2012: Entries received by 5PM EDT on the day of the deadline are eligible for the Early Entry prize.
- Entry Deadline, March 30, 2012, 5PM EDT.
- Online Review and Finalist Selection, January 19 – March 30, 2012: Online review and discussion continues. Simultaneously, a team of Ashoka staff and evaluators nominate the best and most innovative entries as finalists.
- Winners Announced, June 12, 2012: The competition winners—the People's Choice winner selected by the Changemakers online community, the two Judges' Awards selected by the panel of judges, and the winners of the "special focus" prizes—will be announced on this day. For more information, please see the Prizes page.
*Finalists that are eligible for the People's Choice Award will be announced on May 29
Disclaimer—Compliance with Legal Restrictions
Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. Any grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.
Early deadline for Ideas
Deadline for Ideas
|Literacy and Cultural Connections||Emilie Shumway||United States, Illinois, Chicago|
|Sports for Sharing||Dina Buchbinder||Mexico, Distrito Federal, Mexico City|
|How we can stop school bullying through student empathy||Nicholas Carlisle||United States, California|