Learning has to start and end with the self: What do I know, and how can I relate to the world around me?
If successful it should, by design, result in personal and social change through a combination of self-direction, reflection, and collaboration with ideas and the people who have them. Which brings us to empathy.
The role of empathy in learning has to do with the flow of both information and creativity. A dialogic interaction with the world around us requires us to understand ourselves by understanding the needs and condition of those around us. It also encourages us to take collective measurements rather than those singular, forcing us into an intellectual interdependence that catalyzes other subtle but powerful tools of learning.
Empathy and outrospection are tools not simply of emotional interdependence, but “radical social change.” Roman Krznaric theorizes that the 20th century is the age of introspection, but the 21st is one of “stepping outside ourselves” to experience the world through other perspectives, something increasingly important in an uber-connected society.
How might you frame tomorrow’s lesson or your next project-based learning unit if you want the student to seamlessly transition between other perspectives and their own?