Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn

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Empathy: Making Compassionate Choices
By Barbara Bray    January 12, 2008 -- 08:33 AM

Most of us are so busy that we donít have time to think of another person and their concerns. Do you know how to tune in to another person if you donít have the time? With all that is on our plates and, especially now with all of our technology, we tend to focus on ourselves and our issues. Daniel Golemanís talk Why aren't we all Good Samaritans? from Ted.com made me think about how we learn what we do. Maybe it has alot to do with the choices we make.


Educators, as a service industry, are givers and helpers by nature. We want to make a difference. We want our children to succeed. Teachers tend to only learn what they know or what they learned. In the past six years, our focus has been on increasing student achievement scores in reading and math.

Doesnít it go deeper than that for many of the children at-risk? Children living in poverty have so many more issues to think about:
  • will I eat tonight?
  • will mom come home?
  • why did my brother have to die?
  • how can I understand math when I canít understand what the teachers are saying in English?
Society blames teachers for poor scores or the parents. Can it be more than that? We may be going into a recession and many more middle class children will be in trouble.

What will we do then?

Social networking should be about connecting and sharing. Is it about showing how many friends you have? Are these real friends? I notice on some of these sites that it is more about who connects to you, who you know. I joined Facebook when I saw you could add causes. However, very few people give.

How do we bring back compassion and really share, help, give? So some questions:
  • How do we help teachers design curriculum that builds compassionate citizens?
  • How do we encourage teachers to share and open their classroom doors?
  • How do we build community service into all grade levels?


Categories: "Community" "Future" "Collaboration" "Change" "Authentic Learning"



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