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?
Edutopia’s Schools That Work series profiles K-12 schools, districts, and programs that are dramatically improving the way students learn. Focusing on evidenced-based successes, we create how-to videos and actionable tip lists to help you transform your schools. We get close to the teachers, students, principals, and other administrators who have changed the future of their schools, and show you how they did it.
These educators also share their resources — rubrics, lesson plans, assessments, and training tools that will help you build your own successes.
And one more thing: We connect you with teachers and administrators from around the country who are collaborating to make similar improvements in education.
Ramsey Musallam, a high school chemistry teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area, has been creatively using digital tools in his classroom for several years as a way to drive students to deeper inquiry. In a recent TED talk, Musallam says that a teacher’s strongest tool — the force that draws students deeper into learning — is piquing students’ curiosity. In his classroom, Musallam follows three rules: curiosity comes first, embrace the mess, and reflect and revise.
A video introduction for K-12 teachers & students and even life-long learners interested in discovering more about the Smithsonian Quests program (smithsonianquests.org) These digital badge opportunities are learning challenges which expand upon the interdisciplinary content covered in the Smithsonian Online Education Conference series (smithsonianeducationconferences.org).
Click HERE to watch the video.