For Educators: Circle of Concern Strategy
Helping students develop greater empathy is essential for building a positive school climate, but equally important is considering who students have empathy for.
Children and adults alike are predisposed to empathize for those who are in their own social group. For example, “jocks” may have empathy for other jocks, but not for “nerds.” Boys may have empathy for other boys, but not for girls. Sometimes children lack empathy for their peers who are socially challenged or have disabilities. Empathy for many different kinds of people is important in its own right and is the basis for children’s developing conceptions of and commitments to fairness and justice.
The Circle of Concern strategy is designed to help children — and adults — become more aware of those for whom they don’t have empathy. It is also designed to widen their circle of concern.
Last reviewed October 2018.