In the past two years, some of the Syrian children who came to Canada as refugees have taken part in the Roots of Empathy program. The program aims to help them talk about the trauma they’ve endured, which in turn has improved the ability of their classmates and teachers to connect with them, Gordon says.
Gordon is determined to persuade more educators and parents that emphasis should not be placed on academic achievement at the expense of everything else in the classroom. “School should be about more than just getting good grades and training to enter the workforce,” Gordon says. “Even some of those who support Roots of Empathy do so because they believe heightening social and emotional levels results in good grades. But I’m not looking at raising grades. I’m looking at raising humanity.”