© 2017

Compassion and Education

Cultivating Compassionate Children, Schools and Communities


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Andrew Peterson
    Pages 1-12
  3. Andrew Peterson
    Pages 13-35
  4. Andrew Peterson
    Pages 37-62
  5. Andrew Peterson
    Pages 63-89
  6. Andrew Peterson
    Pages 91-109
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 157-180

About this book


This book makes a defence of compassion as an essential and significant quality that should be at the heart of the education of young people. It provides a careful exploration of what compassion means; how it is relevant to the various relationships among students, teachers, and the wider community; and the particular pedagogical processes that can and might develop compassion. Understanding and justifying compassion as a virtue, this book argues that compassion is a virtue central to all human relationships from the familial, to the communal and to the global. It will be of interest to academics, research and students of education. 


kindness humanity empathy educational policy virtue

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationCanterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Andrew Peterson is Professor of Civic and Moral Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, and Adjunct Professor of Education at the University of South Australia. His is co-editor of Civics and Citizenship Education in Australia: Challenges, Practices and International Perspectives and The Palgrave International Handbook of Education for Citizenship and Social Justice.

Bibliographic information


“Compassion and Education reflects this wide scope of experience and research, making it a highly interdisciplinary work ; it is written for a wide audience, but clear in its endorsement of philosophical notions of virtue and ethics as primary points of reference for contemporary life. … Compassion and Education makes valuable points in its project of defending compassion as a virtue that must be educated and that has a structure that makes it educable.” (Pia Patricia K. Garcia, Acta Philosophica, Vol. 1, 2020)

“This book is a welcome addition to the literature on what might be called the preparation of citizens for future engagement. It highlights the importance of educating emotional responses by incorporating cognitive processing and action-oriented strategies. … the strength of the book is that the theory is well articulated and explained. … Thoughtful and thought provoking scholarship such as this can only add to our knowledge of seeking to create a better world.” (Kerry J. John Kennedy, Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Vol. 39 (2), 2019)

“The theoretical section of this book offers a very careful and helpful analysis of one of the virtues we ought to be seeking to develop in students. … Peterson’s arguments are sound, and would prove very useful for anyone seeking to construct a program that aimed, among the other virtues, at strengthening children’s compassion.” (Tim Sprod, childhood & philosophy, Vol. 14 (29), 2018)

“Book is very well-written in a contemplative and engaging style. … School Principals and members of their leadership teams would find much of value to draw from this publication in devising whole-school approaches to enhancing relationships in schools. Andrew Peterson makes a valued contribution to new ways of thinking about compassion as a significant human virtue in the education of young people and by considering its place in their moral education. All educators will find something worthwhile in this book.” (Deborah Henderson, Curriculum Perspectives, Vol. 37 (2), September, 2017)

“This is a fine book and a welcome addition to recent discussions on virtue and character education in educational theory and practice. … Compassion and Education offers an interesting read through the clever way in which it combines philosophical analysis with empirical evidence, interlaced with examples from current events and great stories that illuminate something about compassion.” (Wouter Sanderse, Journal of Beliefs & Values, September, 2017)