The latest “If We Knew Our History” column from the Zinn Education Project is by Dave Zirin. In the article, Zirin tells the story behind the famous photo of Tommie Smith and John Carlo... Interesting story to share /discuss with students
Update, June 22: Three of the four boys who were taped tormenting a school bus monitor have apologized for their behavior in statements released through police, NBC News reports. Original story: By Lisa Flam They called her fat and ugly, said she...
As a religious studies teacher, I feel that empathy is an essential skill for all students. Learning to empathise will better equip students to interpret the experiences of others, especially when others' attitudes, beliefs and ways of thinking are alien to their own. It also allows for better intercultural understanding and community cohesion between people of different economic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
However, relating the experiences of others to one's own is a hard skill to master, especially if you have limited experience of the world due to your age. It is essential, therefore, that we build upon students pre-existing experiences when finding ways to develop empathy as a tool for improving their understanding of the world around them.
Human emotions are highly contagious. Seeing others' emotional expressions such as smiles triggers often the corresponding emotional response in the observer. Such synchronization of emotional states across individuals may support social interaction: When all group members share a common emotional state, their brains and bodies process the environment in a similar fashion.
Researchers at Aalto University and Turku PET Centre have now found that feeling strong emotions makes different individuals' brain activity literally synchronous.
A recent contest asked for the best ways to teach empathy. It received more than 600 submissions. Is this evidence of an empathy movement in education?
That idea has been building momentum. President Obama consistently advocated empathy during his 2008 presidential campaign and famously said it was one of his criteria for a Supreme Court justice. Over the past few years, several big books have argued for the critical importance of empathy in the world today, perhaps most notably Jeremy Rifkin’s The Empathic Civilization, which Ariana Huffington championed on the Huffington Post, writing, “Empathy is the one quality we most need if we’re going to survive and flourish in the 21st century.” At the same time, some researchers have uncovered evidence that empathy is on the decline in the United States, though in recent years, other scientists have identified empathy’s genetic basis and its ability to help us overcome differences.
The bullying that bus monitor Karen Klein endured on a ride home from an upstate New York school was painful and egregious, but also shows how student harassment of teachers and administrators has become more spiteful and damaging in the online era.
Cyberbaiting is real and will become more frewuent too!
The arguments you need to explain why empathy is a key to life-long learning...
Look no further than the role of empathy in human-centered design, in conflict resolution, in the boardroom---yes, even in the preservation of earth (don’t take our word for it)---and you’ll realize that empathy matters for reasons beyond the fact that learning outcomes improve (though they do: read on). In fact, we’re dedicating an entire site to helping make that case, and to equipping parents, teachers, and everyone in between with the tools they need to practice
Community building in the classroom takes time but it may trickle up. It may help create a more compassionate community. Empathy for a scrawny kid may eventually trickle up and make us more tolerant of the politically obnoxious person next door.Empathy for the kid who doesn’t wear designer clothes may eventually trickle up and make us more understanding toward the homeless.
Perhaps it is not just the kids who need teaching.
Let’s dream of schools where empathy and compassion yield popularity points. Let’s keep trying to create more compassionate communities. And let’s hope it trickles up to our nation.