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In Their Shoes. A space for Active Empathy ("En Sus Zapatos")

SEL through Theatre of Awareness in public schools to improve coexistence and prevent violence.

A programme of emotional literacy, to improve school coexistence based on the theatre of awareness method, that stages emotions and makes them visible to everybody. It's aimed at the entire school community with the objectives of preventing violence and bullying, as well as promoting coexistence through training sessions on emotional literacy for students (aged 4-17), their teachers and families.

HundrED 2024






Target group
May 2024
Both adults and children would describe the program as a way to learn socioemotional skills in a fun and deep way. They would agree that SEL helps them to better understand what they feel, what others feel, and how to solve their conflicts in a positive way. They're ready to practice compassion when been hurt and they're more keen to forgive. Through education we aim to build Peace

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

To create a culture of peace at schools. Bullying is indeed the top of the iceberg of a much larger problem that affects many school centers and families. Therefore, with “In their shoes” we went at the root of the problem involving all actors: teachers, families and students. The programme uses theater as a main resource since it allows easily to be more empathetic with others and teambuilding.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

The learning method of is based on a peer-to-peer cascade methodology:
1. Teachers are trained as facilitators of the method “In their shoes” in an annual course.
2. The accredited facilitators train other teachers, families and non-teaching staff of their own schools, or those schools interested in implementing the programme.
3. The teachers trained by the facilitators implement the method in their classrooms. They use a socio-emotional skills manual specially developed for that purpose by the programme.
4. Finally, the students, as a final outcome of the implementation of the method, develop and perform a theater play based on their own coexistence challenges and proposed solutions. This theater play is performed in front of other students from lower grades in which they teach them about the socio-emotional skills and resources they have learned through the programme.
The programme reaches the entire school community and its formative experience has been proven as impactful.

How has it been spreading?

In 2010 Pax Dettoni (Ashoka Fellow) created the Theater of Awareness learning methodology for SEL. In 2017 she created and pilot ‘’In Their Shoes’’. Then, with the support of the Ministry of Education of Spain and Porticus Foundation, the Asociación Teatro de Conciencia extended it to five schools, which allowed to generate a replicable and scalable cross-sectional model for different contexts. Since then, it has grown thanks to its evaluated impact and its innovative methodology designed to have a multiplier effect.
The collaborations and synergies with public administrations have been key to scale social impact. The program is offered institutionally in the region of Madrid. In addition, through the online version we have reached hundreds of teachers in four other regions.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

If you´re a teacher or an educator:
1. You can be trained to bring the methodology to your students
2.You can be trained as a facilitator of In Their Shoes methodology and bring the program to your own and other schools (teachers, students, families and non-teaching staff).
3. You can download all our materials for free in our web and begin by yourself with the implementation in your classroom.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

In Their Shoes fosters social and emotional learning through arts and theater. In this program children improve their emotional literacy and active empathy by understanding their emotions and making them visible to their classmates. This innovation helps the wellbeing of the school community and supports anti-bullying efforts.

HundrED Academy Reviews

The innovation can have a high level of impact because it involves teachers and parents as well as students. This approach allows for a more holistic and long term implementation of the ideas.

The innovation is easily scalable as educators are trained to use the method in their own context. It is low or no tech and therefore easy to use in a wide range of settings.

- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

The program is ready to be scaled to other regions of Spain but also internationally. We have developed online learning platforms, and the entire methodology has been systematized, validated and externally evaluated. That means that the methodology is ready to be adapted and implemented in other regions, but also in other contexts beyond the school system.
If you are a teacher or an educator you can be trained to implement In Their Shoes with your students (from 4 to 17 years and students of special education, as well).
If you are a teacher or an educator and you hace been trained to implement In Their Shoes with your students, afterwards you can be trained to become a facilitator in our methodology. If so, you will be able to train other teachers, families, students and non-teaching staff. You could train the whole school community of yours, or others in your region. More information:
If you are a teacher or an educator, you can use our materials (at the moment only in Spanish) to implement by yourself In Their Shoes in your classroom. Download them for free:

Spread of the innovation

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