Menu Harvard Graduate School of Education
banner image

Stories by Making Caring Common

By Leah Shafer 03/03/2017 8:11 AM EST
Photo illustration of teen boys bullying another boy
We asked teenagers from around the country to share their thoughts on why bullying happens, what it takes to be an ally, and how schools can promote kindness. Drawing on their daily experiences at middle and high school, teenagers Sophie Bernstein from Missouri, Lily Horton from California, Nadya Khan from New Jersey, Katie Wong from California, and Ricky Yoo from Georgia provided firsthand insight for the adults working to end bullying and create welcoming schools. The teens are part of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) at Making Caring Common, an initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of...
By Usable Knowledge 03/01/2017 7:11 PM EST
"It's very important that we elicit multiple views and honor free speech, but also protect human rights," Weissbourd says. "It's important that we tell kids to appreciate the complexity of others people, as they appreciate their own complexity. Additional Resources Learn to do a Circle of Concern [PDF] activity. Get a comprehensive bullying-prevention overview [PDF] from Making Caring Common. *** We Want to Hear from You
Our country is polarized: How is that showing up in your school? What are you doing to protect students, confront discrimination, prevent bullying, and foster...
By Leah Shafer 02/27/2017 2:12 PM EST
Raising Kind Children
Families foster kindness and respect at home by setting expectations for manners, sharing, and helping with chores. And families hope, often with a tinge of worry, that children will continue those behaviors when parents and caregivers aren't nearby: in the school cafeteria, at a friend’s house, or on Instagram and Snapchat. But guiding children to be empathetic and ethical in their independent lives — even when no one is looking — can be more intentional than that. Here, a set of parenting strategies for teaching children to think ethically, care about the people around them, and create...
By Leah Shafer 11/15/2016 9:42 AM EST
Chalkboard illustration with stars
If the largely unforeseen results of the presidential election and nastiness of its campaigns have been unsettling for seasoned voters, they have floored many future voters — teenagers who followed the election intently.  We asked members of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) — a diverse group of teenagers who work with the Harvard Graduate School of Education project Making Caring Common — to  help us understand how teens are making sense of the past 18 months and where they think we should go from here. Four members of the board (Anna Kizito from Massachusetts, Andrew Schoonover from Kansas,...
By Usable Knowledge 07/28/2016 4:14 PM EDT
A circle of hands placed on top of one another, suggesting unity
After a summer punctuated by killings in the streets of American cities, many are hoping that schools will become places of dialogue, where broad conversations about race, racism, and systemic inequality can flourish. The Making Caring Common initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education offers a sampling of vetted resources [PDF] that provide guidance for educators who want to start these conversations. The resources are not meant to be comprehensive, but they offer a foothold and a place to begin. They include lesson plans and activities, best practices, and videos and reflection...
By Leah Shafer 06/21/2016 2:29 PM EDT
College and the Good Student
Part two of a three-part series on changes to the college admissions process. Read part one, which describes a new focus on authentic community service, here. The world needs young adults who are ethically aware, connected to their communities, and ready to dig into the problems threatening the common good. But today's college admissions process, which can consume teenagers and dictate what they do and value, instead encourages a competitive focus on personal successes and accolades. Colleges admissions do endorse community service, but too often, service commitments become sidelined, trumped...
By Leah Shafer 06/06/2016 3:44 PM EDT
College and (the Real) You
Part one of a three-part series on changes to the college admissions process. Read part two, about how high schools and colleges are changing their focus, here. While high school seniors across the country celebrate the end of the college admissions process, juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen may look at the months and years ahead with anxiety and confusion. “Should I join a new club?” they may be asking, as they wonder how to make their college applications stand out. “Take another AP class? Organize a food drive? Run for student council?” And above all: “What are colleges looking for?”...
By Bari Walsh 05/17/2016 11:35 AM EDT
Closing the Gap Year Gap
Thanks to the particular choice of a particular 17-year-old (whose dad has a high-profile job in Washington, D.C.), a lot of the world is talking about gap years. But as Malia Obama’s decision to defer her Harvard admission shows, the conversations can carry some very privileged associations — seemingly distant from the post-secondary options available to many less-advantaged or nontraditional students and families. So are gap years just another enrichment lever that only highly advantaged students can pull? Or is there a way to make gap year opportunities broadly accessible, without making...
By Jeff Wagenheim, Illustrations by Simone Massoni 05/14/2016 9:48 AM EDT
Credits for Kindness
Don't throw away those No. 2 pencils, the kind you used to fill in all the little ovals back when you took the Scholastic Aptitude Test. If your parents went to college, too, they probably secured their places on campus by completing the sat with the same type of lead pencils. (It's not lead inside, actually, but nontoxic graphite — maybe that should be one of the multiple choice questions on the test.) And if your children grow up with post-secondary schooling aspirations, they'll also most certainly use trusty old No. 2s to write their tickets to the future. But through the generations,...
By Leah Shafer 05/05/2016 2:42 PM EDT
Developing a Digital Voice
We know that smartphones, social media, and near-universal internet access are changing the way young people view themselves as agents of change. But what does that day-to-day digital civic participation look like? What can teens accomplish? What are the challenges? To get the digital native outlook on the opportunities and struggles accompanying internet activism, Usable Knowledge turned to three members of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) at Making Caring Common. Andrew Schoonover (Kansas), Amy Fan (Texas), and Gabby Frost (Pennsylvania) are part of a diverse group of young people dedicated...


Campaign Banner

Learn to Change the World

The Campaign for Harvard Graduate School of Education enables HGSE to fulfill its vision of changing the world through education by expanding opportunity and improving outcomes.

Learn More