David Levine, Author at Teaching Empathy Institute
Teaching Empathy Institute works to establish emotionally and physically safe learning communities for elementary, middle and high school students and the adults who work with them. Working in the Hudson Valley of New York, TEI creates tailor-made programs designed to foster dialogue about social culture building while strengthening the capacity for the infusion of empathy and compassion into all aspects of the learning experience.
Teaching Empathy Institute, SEL, Social and emotional learning, mindfulness, diversity, education, bullying, anti-bullying, k-12, learning, david levine, school of belonging
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Beginning in the late 1950’s, educator and social activist Paulo Freire was working on an adult literacy project among the peasants in his native Brazil. Freire’s challenge was to teach illiterate workers how to read. What Freire soon found out was that the ignorance in which these people lived forced them into a “culture of silence”. The rulers of the country had the power and voice, while these peasants had neither. Freire found fault with the existing system of education, which he felt enforced the social inequalities already in place. Instead he developed his own system, a “pedagogy of the...

I like to begin this lesson with an explanation such as this: Have you ever left home and suddenly realized you've forgotten something such as your homework or lunch? Once you thought "Oh, I forgot that," you were able to get whatever it was you forgot before you were too far from home. But who said, "Oh, I forgot that?" This was your inner voice. The inner voice talks to you with unexpected thoughts or physical feelings and sensations (saying for example, "this just doesn't feel right"). Pass out index cards and have students write down one situation in which...

Naming the world: Making the invisible, visible Naming the world as a concept is an outgrowth of the work by Brazilian Educator Paolo Freire who said “that which is unnamed is invisible, and a teacher’s job is to name the world.” In this episode of the Little Talks series, we explore how to create a secure learning environment in which discovery is enhanced through the use of common language, routine, and ritual. Download the Naming the World Reflection Guide and sign-up for our newsletter to be notified of future Little Talks releases. Teaching Empathy Institute's Little Talks that Make a Big Difference podcasts focus on meeting...

A school that is working with the principles of social and emotional learning,  promotes an inner journey by the professionals who teach there. The late Donald Schön, an organizational learning theorist, professor, and author, in his work posited that a healthy learning organization is the outgrowth of reflective practice. He defines reflective practice as “the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning". The focus on continuous learning is key because it represents the challenge of doing things differently if current practices are not working as well as they could be. A reflective practitioner...

Emotional imprinting: A roadmap to understanding ourselves and others In the first 15 years of our life, we have experiences which create our value system. These values drive our behaviors and are often unconscious. In this episode of the Little Talks series, we examine what emotional imprints are and how they can get in the way of building healthy and productive relationships with other. By identifying our imprints, we can manage our emotions more effectively, especially during times of stress. Download the Emotional Imprinting Reflection Guide and sign-up for our newsletter to be notified of future Little Talks releases. Teaching Empathy Institute's Little Talks that Make a...

Social and emotional learning is defined as the process through which children acquire and effectively apply the knowledge and skills to manage their emotions while building healthy relationships with others. In this episode of the Little Talks series, we focus upon practical approaches for infusing SEL into the classroom setting. Download the Social and Emotional Learning Reflection Guide and sign-up for our newsletter to be notified of future Little Talks releases. Teaching Empathy Institute's Little Talks that Make a Big Difference podcasts focus on meeting the social and emotional needs of  students, moving them toward healthy social decision-making and pro-social skills development. ...

I once asked a group of teachers to turn off their cel phones at the beginning of a social skills workshop.  One person, seated in the back, raised his hand and asked if he could leave his phone on since this was a social skills workshop and he was going to be using social media.   I thought he was joking but I wasn’t certain. I told him he could silence his phone if he chose.  He left it on and texted for most of the next two hours.  In today’s contemporary world of communication where facetime means looking at a...

Creating an on-going feeling word vocabulary can also be seen as improving one’s emotional literacy. Emotional literacy is reflective of someone with a high degree of emotional intelligence. A person with high EQ is able to manage his or her emotions during stressful times. #CASEL Feeling Words Vocabulary Builder Distribute a handout of “Feeling Words”, (see below). Ask students to help you define each word, and brainstorm with them on other words to add. Then ask each student to: Star six words that they use often Underline six words that they seldom use Circle any words that they do not understand Ask students...

I recently received a Fitbit as a gift from my wife, Jodi. The Fitbit is a watch which, amongst other things, monitors how many steps one walks during the day. The most exciting time of my day now happens at night, when my Fitbit vibrates with its lights flickering, celebrating that I have walked 10,000 steps for that day. 10,000 steps seems like a lot but when it’s done with  purpose and support, when it becomes a way of being, it’s like breathing, it’s natural. What if empathy was practiced so frequently that it became as natural as breathing or walking...

A resilient child has hope and optimism for the future with the skills and perspective to manage difficult life situations.  In this episode of the Little Talks series, we focus upon the significance relationships have, as we lay the groundwork for each child to have a resilient mindset. Download the Resilience Reflection Guide and sign-up for our newsletter to be notified of future Little Talks releases. Teaching Empathy Institute's Little Talks that Make a Big Difference podcasts focus on meeting the social and emotional needs of  students, moving them toward healthy social decision-making and pro-social skills development. ...