Dolan is a professor and director of the
UNESCO Child and Family Research
Centre at the National University of Ireland Galway. Pat is co-developing and
testing the Activating Social Empathy program. Social Empathy Education
aims to develop and mainstream Social Empathy Education program in schools
and in teacher education.
The program is structured around 4 key learning principles:
1. UNDERSTANDING EMPATHY: Students learn what
empathy is and why it is important.
2. PRACTICING EMPATHY: Students practice and
strengthen their empathy skills.
3. OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS: Students discuss the
barriers to empathy and identify ways they can overcome these obstacles.
4. PUTTING EMPATHY INTO ACTION: Students take part
in a social action project of their own choosing.
Activating Social Empathy is an interactive, student-focused, social and
emotional learning programme, which was developed by Dr Ciara Boylan and
Professor Pat Dolan in 2017 as a resource tool for post-primary schools. The
aim of the programme is to improve empathy skills and foster positive peer
relations among secondary school students. The activating social empathy
programme is designed to form part of the Junior Cycle Wellbeing Programme
and, in line with these guidelines, sets out to help students “build life
skills and develop a strong sense of connectedness to their school and to
their community”. ...
Empathy in education: ‘It’s just as important as learning maths’
Actor Cillian Murphy promotes plan to bring empathy training to secondary
It’s one reason why Murphy has opted to get involved in a new project being
developed by Prof Pat Dolan, director of the Unesco Child and Family Research
Centre at NUI Galway, on promoting empathy among schoolchildren. Empathy, says
Dolan, is key to preventing bullying behaviour, tackling racism, promoting
understanding and improving social connectedness. “Empathy isn’t sympathy,”
says Dolan. “It’s about valuing, respecting and understanding another person’s
“We are on the cusp of the development of empathy as a core part of
education systems which will benefit not just youth but civic society as
a whole.” Prof Pat Dolan
Youth Empathy Day was held at NUI Galway on 1 February 2018. The event
brought together 200 Transition Year students from six secondary schools
participating in the new pilot education programme, Activating Social
Empathy. The programme supports adolescents to learn empathy in
UNESCO Chair Professor Pat Dolan and actor Cillian Murphy today
(Thursday, 23 January) launched a new initiative to introduce Empathy
education for secondary school students in Ireland. The programme,
Activating Social Empathy, is part of a suite of work undertaken by a
team of researchers at NUI Galway that has developed a concrete basis
for understanding empathy education among adolescents. A major focus of
the UNESCO Chair’s work both nationally and internationally, is the role
of empathy in the development of social understanding and its potential
to enable young people to foster better social responsibility, civic
behaviour and critically, action.:
Prof Pat Dolan, Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre
NUI Galway shares why we have to get real and serious about introducing
specific empathy education into secondary schools and we need to do it
now. Sharing recent evidence from neuroscience which shows that when
children and youth are taught empathy and understanding their academic
achievements improve – he states this alone should be enough for schools
to embrace it.
More importantly, in a world where narcissism, hate speech, racism and
self-centred behaviours are increasing through to fears around youth
violent extremism albeit unspoken in Ireland, the solution of developing
altruism in youth through empathy education in school and community
settings may be key to the future stability of Irish society.
Mark Brennan & Pat Dolan: Connecting Activated Social Empathy in Youth
Sep 14, 2016
Drs. Mark Brennan and Pat Dolan focus their talk on youth and their role
in community and building empathy. They have recruited young people to
ask and answer compelling research questions in their program: Youth as
Researchers. Young people are an underused resource when it comes to
change and advocating for themselves. They were speaking at the 2016
Roots of Empathy Research Symposium.