Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The era of the selfie
Why empathy is the key attribute of the future

Empathy can be defined as:

The ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. Basically an empathetic person can understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.

In his book The Road to Character (2016) David Brooks states that people have become less empathetic with students scoring 40 percent lower than their predecessors in the 1970s. The biggest drop came in the years after 2000.

Alongside this he notes that google word usage has seen a sharp rise in individualist words and phrases like “self” and “personalised”, “I come first” and “I can do it myself”. “Community”, “share”, “united” and “common good” have had a sharp decline.

Brooks offers the following word research:

Character, conscience & virtue
declined over the course of the 20th century
Gratitude
declined by 49%
Humbleness
declined by 52%
Kindness
declined by 56%

Almost 75 percent of American students today rate themselves as less empathic than the average student 30 years ago.

However, Konrath and Twenge (2010) state:

 “The fact that empathy is declining means that there’s more fluidity to it than previously thought,” she says. “It means that empathy can change. It can go up.”

have had the privilege of attending a variety of professional learning opportunities over the past few weeks ranging from a conference with a focus on creativity and technology, a two-day workshop on learning talk in the workplace and a two day seminar on design thinking. Quite diverse topics and speakers but a defining feature of all the presentations was how important empathetic understanding was and will be for citizens of the future.


After two days of professional learning with Joan Dalton (Australian educational guru) and colleagues, studying learning talk and important conversations at work, I believe the main messages were:
  • ·      be open to sharing your own understandings and thinking
  • ·      be open to feedback and critique about your understandings and thinking
  • ·      use valid evidence to make assumptions and judgements (perspective taking)
  • ·      be open to and know how to probe and challenge respectfully
  • ·      develop shared protocols and model them


and, ultimately

  • ·      use invitational language to build and strengthen relationships

On reflection, all of the above behaviours build empathy and relational trust.

I then attended the ISNZ Conference and listened to a variety of speakers including Dr Swee Tan and Dr Clemency Montelle. These inspirational researchers and teachers have utilised their passions, knowledge and deep seated empathy to help and inspire others.

Finally, I spent two days at a Design Thinking seminar listening to a variety of speakers across education and business as they presented their key messages and strategies to engage in the design process. The main messages were:
  • ·      begin any design process from a human centred perspective
  • ·      lead the process from a values based perspective
  • ·      plan using a variety of stakeholder lens
  • ·      use specific tools develop a participatory culture

Again, on reflection the main messages emphasised a human centred approach and creating and sharing together aimed to build collective productivity based on empathy.

So, collectively the intense period of professional learning and reading all supposedly unrelated, emphasized to me the importance empathy and empathetic understanding will be in the future life of our students.

Below is my planning checklist to ensure we continue to help our students develop empathy:

A checklist for developing empathy & empathetic understanding – ensure your activities allow learners the opportunity (overtime) to:

develop shared protocols of behaviour and model/practice them


be open to feedback and critique about their understandings and thinking


gather valid evidence to make assumptions and judgements (perspective taking)


be open to and know how to probe and challenge respectfully


be open to sharing their own understandings and thinking


identify and use invitational language to build and strengthen relationships


utilise their passions and knowledge to help others


begin any design process from a human centred perspective taking inspiration from real people


approach the design process from a values based perspective


plan using a variety of stakeholder lens


use specific tools to develop a participatory culture



Still not convinced?
Watch the following you tube video

“ Empathy can change the world” made by year 8 students:






                   

1 comment:

  1. Really good article about attitude for professional students.. thanks Study MBBS in Russia

    ReplyDelete