Teaching Empathy Through Code

Flatiron School / 6 July 2015

Every day at The Flatiron School, we speak to employers at some of the best companies in the world about the type of people they are looking to hire.

Although they see loads of applicants that match their technical expectations and have the expertise to solve their problems, the people that stand out to hiring managers have the patience and thoughtfulness to be great teachers to their colleagues, as well as the humility and determination to be great learners.  Employers consistently tell us that they are looking for people who can work effectively with a wide range of people.

At Flatiron School, our classrooms are student-driven and designed to mirror the demands of the 21st century. Through Flatiron projects and challenge-based curriculums, students are constantly teaching and learning from each other. They grow into agile learners who thrive at collaboration. They are thinking about how to leverage the most powerful technology and communication tools of our time to create applications, products, or experiences that makes the world better in ways that are important to them.

Employers consistently tell us that they are looking for people who can work effectively with a wide range of people.

Students go from 0 to 80 miles per hour, quickly. Those who have never thought about building a website create their own Ruby applications in a matter of weeks.

Code happens to be an incredibly powerful tool for bringing people — who likely never would have met — together around commonality. Our kids are talented and ambitious and different. They come from the Upper East Side and they come from the South Bronx. Our hope is that by building together, they will develop friendships, networks, and empathy that they will take with them for life.

Our real goal is to foster thoughtful global citizens who understand how technology imbues the world around them and how they can use it to make the world a better place.  To give them a sense of their own possibility — as individuals and as collaborators — who represent a wide range of backgrounds. We teach empathy through code.


lyelresnerLyel Resner is currently the Director of K-12 and Social Impact at the Flatiron School and an Adjunct Professor at NYU Stern, where he teaches Social Innovation.

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