June 16th, 2011

WATCH: Empathy 101: A Refugee Curriculum Informs South Bronx Students

( Click here to download the podcast )

For many high school students, the struggles of others are often distant problems. In urban inner-city schools, where students have tough home situations and little exposure to the outside world, this is particularly the case. But at Banana Kelly High School in the South Bronx, high school teacher Lauren Fardig aims to change that.

Producer John Tulenko went to Banana Kelly — situated in the poorest Congressional district in America — to film a piece on a remarkable curriculum developed by the Morningside Center. These ninth grade students went through several phases of activities related to refugees, discovering important life lessons in the process.

This piece aired on June 20, 2011 on PBS NewsHour.

Download transcript (PDF)

This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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This is a fine and very important piece. Kudos for Ms. Fardig’s work and for Mr. Tulenko’s reporting. This brief film exposed the fallacy behind the current education reform theory. The work these students did will not show up on any standardized test, but the content mattered deeply, the students learned a great deal, and the skills that they used will be helpful for everything else they do. This is what true education needs to be. It is everything test prep is not: important, inspiring, mindful, challenging, and powerful.

Well done! Fabulous report. I feel quite inspired.

In a time of teachers/faculty complaining about students and entitlement, learning about empathy is an incredibly valuable and long-lasting life lesson. Thank you so very much for this inspiration! Ellen Bremen, M.A. @chattyprof http://chattyprof.blogspot.com

well down. Give them what they need. Flexibility and compassion are the key in a situation like this.

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