We are using cookies to give a better service experience. By using our services you agree to use cookies. Read more

All articles

In Their Shoes. A space for Active Empathy

location_on Madrid, Spain

SEL trough Theater of Awareness in public schools to improve coexistence and prevent violence.

It is a programme of emotional literacy to improve school coexistence based on the theater of awareness method, that stages emotions and makes them visible to everybody. It aims 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 4-14),their teachers and families.

HundrED 2023






Target group
November 25th, 2022
Children learn to put themselves in other people’s shoes when their adults of reference put themselves In Their Shoes. Theater and play make the journey easier.
Pax Dettoni Serrano. CEO and founder, creator of ''In Their Shoes''

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.

How does your innovation work 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 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 regions of Madrid and the Balearic Islands. 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?

You have two options:
1. If you are a teacher or an educator you can be trained as a facilitator of In Their Shoes methodology and bring the programme to your own and other schools.
2. If you are a school or an education center and you want your teachers, students, families and non-teaching staff to benefit from ''In their Shoes'' you need a facilitator that would bring your In Their Shoes

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 great advantage is that it can be easily applied in varied contexts and adapted to different cultures. A valued toolkit for any teacher!
The resources and methodology are very practical and easy to apply in other contexts to improve emotional literacy of students, teachers, families and facilitators.
- 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



From the beginning, our methodology was created to be implemented in a systemic and comprehensive way in close collaboration with public administration. In fact, this is the fourth year that In Their Shoes is offered by the regional government of Madrid in public schools. And now is being also offered by the regional government of the Balearic Islands. So, after these years, the program is ready to be scaled up in 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.

Spread of the innovation

loading map...