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Waging Dialogue


Emotional Imprint


The mission of COC is closely aligned with that of the Hot Stove Project The Hot Stove Project

The Hot Stove Project



Emotional Imprint™ needs
your financial support

Over the past year, Emotional Imprint™ has successfully implented its first courses at the Harlem-based youth enrichment program, Street Squash.

We need your financial support to to continue to develop curricula and bring our programs to more children.

Please visit our fundraising page and make a tax-deductible contribution >>

The need for a New Language: Emotional Literacy

Our first projects, the Waging Dialogue Forums and the Depth Perception Party, illuminated the difficulty of establishing meaningful dialogue between representatives of different ideologies using society and culture’s existing tools. During this process, the clumsiness of forum participants in being able to identify and respond appropriately to the emotional experience of the Other became painfully obvious. I began to conceptualize the problem as a language yet to be learned and understood.  Our children, the generation who will inherit our problems and who are watching us with confusion, concern and fear, can and must be taught a language for empathic understanding.

Emotional Imprint™

Visit the Emotional Imprint™ website and learn more about EI™, our educational development team, and our ongoing collaboration with Street Squash.

Human Understanding requires Empathic Imagination – the ability to imagine the emotional experience of the other. This is a task as complex as Shakespeare and rocket science to master, but it can be taught. And it must be taught, in an educational trajectory that's given the same weight as every other academic subject, from elementary through PhD programs. Our educational initiative “Emotional Imprint™ is developing an academic curriculum in Emotional Literacy, the language and methodology of human understanding.

Many students graduate from American schools lacking skills necessary for group problem solving, effective leadership, and responding to others whom they perceive to be “different.” They may instinctively treat those perceived as different with distrust, fear and contempt. Such rigid modes of experiencing, feeling and thinking lead to conflict. Furthermore, poor social and emotional skills have been negatively correlated with academic success. Existing social and emotional literacy programs have achieved some success in improving students’ ability to collaborate, reason with less bias, and assume leadership roles; however, they are often squeezed into an already full academic day, and are rarely implemented across grades or cohesively taught. Emotional Imprint™ takes an innovative pedagogical approach to teaching emotional literacy by integrating it with the existing core curriculum.  In an Emotional Imprint™ classroom, young people study the ways in which feelings play a role in learning and decision-making. Through academic work, students develop greater insight into their own and others’ emotions, improve their ability to read and respond to emotional communications of others, and internalize that insight. Our unique use of thought experiments as a teaching tool allow students to deepen their understanding of self, other, and text.


Emotional Imprint™ comes to Street Squash

We have begun to put Emotional Imprint™ into action, thanks to an organization called Street Squash, a Harlem-based youth enrichment program that combines academic tutoring with squash instruction and college preparation.

During the summer of 2012 Street Squash invited us to design a pilot project for their middle school students. For one week, we turned the Street Squash classroom into a microcosm of adult society. We assigned students “future selves,” complete with careers, incomes, and tax brackets. The 60 students discussed their feelings about their jobs and incomes in relation to their classmates’, calculated their taxes, learned how the government uses those taxes, and explored the perspectives of our political parties and candidates. They designed posters and made oral presentations. Studying current events, they discussed the importance of reading closely for context and understanding the perspective of others – “putting themselves in the other’s shoes.”

Emotional Imprint™ challenged the Street Squash kids to consider their unique emotional imprint, imagine the emotional experience of people from different backgrounds, talk TO rather than AT friends from across imaginary divides, and imagine new ways to effect social change. The work was engaging, the discussions lively, and the atmosphere fun. The program was so successful that Street Squash invited us back to design their academic curriculum for the full 2012-13 year. That program is currently wrapping up -- stay tuned for our report!


Visit the Emotional Imprint™ website and learn more about EI™, our educational development team, and our ongoing collaboration with Street Squash >>