Empathy means you can truly understand how someone feels. It doesn’t mean sympathy – where you feel sorry for someone. When you feel empathy, it can be hard because you share the feelings of that other person. If they’re unhappy, you know what it feels like. However, if they’re happy, you also know how that feels.
Last week a large group of teachers, and high school students, worked together to brainstorm ways to help students in school learn empathy. In my group, we had lots of ideas which we put together under three categories: Open Communication, Relationship Building and Ownership. We felt that if you had the first two categories, it would lead to Ownership.
Building empathy in schools will help students to be more successful because in life, we all have to relate to other people. If you understand how someone feels, you are more likely to be able to resolve difficulties without them growing worse. Open communication means you can feel that you can express yourself and someone will listen; it means they can speak to you and you will listen. If someone tells you calmly how they feel, it is much less antagonistic than if they yell at you because you’ve accidentally upset them. You listen to each other and you respect each others’ feelings. Relationship Building makes everyone feel valued. It helps you to understand that no-one is perfect, we all have strengths and flaws and we should share our differences as well as our similarities. Students and teachers should feel equally comfortable with each other and respect and trust each other. If these first two categories are in place, then students will feel a sense of Ownership – this means they will feel in charge of their own learning. I believe that when students feel this, they are motivated and more likely to push themselves to succeed. They won’t be scared to ask for support or to ask questions. They will understand why learning will help them and they will have more choices in what they learn and how they learn.
This video featuring cartoon birds on a wire sends a message about what makes up a healthy community of individuals. Watch the video. When you’re done watching respond to these questions. What does this cartoon say about communities? Who is the antagonist in this video?
Mochi is a Japanese delicacy made with a special grain of rice. It takes a highly skilled person to make mochi. This video introduces the audience to the traditional art and craft of making mochi. Watch as the master explains his lightning quick techniques for turning rice into a classic Japanese treat. After watching, use the Reply space below to answer this: How do you think someone becomes a master or an expert at anything?
You can use a template to help you do this or create your own. An infographic is a visual image that contains easy-to-understand charts and graphs, to help communicate an idea. I tried one to remind us of how to write a Literary Essay.
Our challenge was to write a story in 50 words – about a time when we had burst out laughing. The next challenge was to cut the number of words in half!
In December, I flew home from Edinburgh. I watched the movie, Me Before You. I had headphones on and just suddenly burst out laughing. Ian said, ‘shhh…’ nudging me, indicating the other passengers. But I still couldn’t help it. I laughed until tears flowed. Until the story changed…
December, flying home from Edinburgh, watching Me Before You. I laughed, loudly. Ian said, ‘shhh…’ I laughed until tears flowed. Until the story changed…
We have been thinking a lot lately about how to redesign the classroom for the needs of today’s learners. We looked at the new room concepts that were recommended by the Scarsdale High School architecture students. Then we commented on them. The question we have to ask ourselves is what type of room environment will help us best with our learning? What changes can we make right away to Room 18 that you think will make the biggest difference for you as a learner (such as adding a type of furniture, writing surfaces, making learning nooks, etc)?