Blog Archives

Building Empathy Through Critical Thinking

gtchat 03082018 thinkLaw

This week, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT welcomed Colin Seale and Sarah Pfeiler of the team from thinkLaw to chat about “Building Empathy Through Critical Thinking” on Twitter. thinkLaw helps teachers teach critical thinking  through legal cases. To learn how your gifted students can benefit from thinkLaw’s standards-aligned program that helps educators teach critical thinking  to all students, click this link to schedule a brief call.

Colin Seale

Colin E. Seale, Founder & CEO

 

Sarah Pfeiler

Sarah Pfeiler, Curriculum & Training Manager 

 

GT students often experience a significant lack of empathy from their teachers at very young ages. It can cause a lifetime of discouragement when they feel misunderstood and marginalized by adults. When teachers fail to understand what the label ‘gifted’ entails – more than academics; it can create an atmosphere in which GT students no longer feel they should be expected to show emotions that aren’t extended to them.

 

Empathy pic thinkLaw

 

Students need to understand what empathy is and ways to express it. By opening a dialog on what it is and isn’t, students gain a greater appreciation of its importance in their own lives. Introducing the idea that empathy can improve both the student’s life and the lives of those around them becomes challenging when you realize that they’re only in school a fraction of their day. Home environment matters, too.

“We often see little empathy for gifted students because too many think “they are going to be just fine.” 4 students in my 2nd grade g/t class didn’t graduate from HS. They are not going to be “just fine.” And even if they were, is “just fine,” really good enough?” ~ Colin E. Seale

Emotional empathy can be extremely difficult to foster in classrooms where teachers are overworked, underpaid and expected to be defender, counselor and psychologist all while trying to teach. It can be integrated across the curriculum with careful and thoughtful planning and included by subtle reminders to students to think before they speak to or act toward others.

“Using mentor texts is a great way to teach empathy because it’s not personal.  You might select a story about a kid who is struggling socially but has a lot going on at home that people don’t know about. It’s harder for students to start with trying to understand what’s really going on behind the scenes with someone who is targeting or being mean to them.” ~ Sarah Pfeiler

Intellectual empathy must be modeled by teachers and administrators every single day. It isn’t enough to touch upon occasionally. It should be an integral part of lesson planning throughout the school year. It requires teachers to thoughtfully listen and respond to students in a respectful manner. GT students don’t tolerate ‘lip service’ when they are giving careful consideration to the questions they’re asked.

“Building Empathy vs. Academic Rigor is a false choice! When your instruction involves analysis of multiple perspectives, root cause analysis, collaboration, and design thinking, you necessarily enhance our students’ ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.” ~ Colin E. Seale

Intellectual empathy is drowned out by emphasis on test prep, lack of support staff, tight budgets and time constraints which redirect discourse to rote learning and preconceived notions of what is meant be ‘education’. It is not valued any longer by society; it’s not included in the standards. Base knowledge trumps comprehension in most general education classrooms where GT students spend a majority of their time.

We all can play a role in teaching empathy in an effort to build critical thinking. It’s important to realize the impact it has on the lives of students. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

thinkLaw website

The thinkLaw Team

Help Me Understand: 4 Ways to Use Critical Thinking to Develop Empathy

The Critical Thinking Gap: How thinkLaw is Fighting the Equity Issue of Access to Deeper Learning

The State of Critical Thinking Part 1: What is Critical Thinking?

The State of Critical Thinking Part 2: Persevering When Thinking Gets Hard

Webinar: It’s Time for a Critical Thinking Revolution!

Empathy plus Critical Thinking equals Compassionate Action

What are the Importance and Benefits of “Critical Thinking Skills”?

How to Be Empathetic

How Dialogue Teaches Critical Thinking and Empathy

How Cross-Cultural Dialogue Builds Critical Thinking and Empathy

Compassionate Critical Thinking: How Mindfulness, Creativity, Empathy, and Socratic Questioning Can Transform Teaching (Amazon)

How Empathy Affects Learning, And How to Cultivate It In Your Students

Teaching Empathy through Design Thinking

Template Independent POV Project (Google Doc)

Bad Luck? An Exercise in Critical Thinking for St. Patrick’s Day (TPT)

Story Telling with Persona Dolls (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Gifted Unit Plan (Google Doc)

40 Kindness Activities and Empathy Worksheets for Students and Adults

Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching (TEDx 14:41)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children

The Care & Feeding of Advanced Readers Resources (Google Drive)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Beyond Honors & AP: How can we best serve secondary G/T students?

gtchat 10242017 Honors

Meeting the needs of gifted and talented students in middle and high school is often a subject approached very differently by those in general education and gifted advocates. This week at #gtchat we discussed how to best meet the needs of these students with Colin E. Seale of thinkLaw. Joining Colin, was Sarah Pfeiler, Curriculum and Training Manager at thinkLaw.

Honors Colin Bio

So many gifted and talented kids breeze through elementary school and lack of challenge leaves them ill-prepared for middle and high school. These identified students face many teachers who lack professional development and knowledge of what the ‘gifted’ label entails, or  have inappropriate expectations. Twice exceptional students may face the biggest challenge when schools see only deficits and fail to support strengths.

Gifted and talented students often struggle when there is no “right” answer. Educators must learn how to channel perfectionism into positive action; involve student voice and choice in relation to passions. They should share with the student what perfectionism is and is not.

Most gifted students are pulling rather than being pushed when it comes to technology in school. Allowing them to create their own tech is a great incentive; for example; learn coding as a second language.

Today’s high students will have careers in fields that do not yet exist. Future prospects should be partnered with passions and mentorships. Gifted students are often the visionaries! They can be supported by providing opportunities to explore personal choices in their education.

Gifted and talented students go to college and are ‘big fish’ in a ‘bigger pond.’ How do you prepare them for the transition out of high school?  GT students who are challenged in high school are better prepared for the transition to higher education. Educators should provide opportunities to begin the transition when ready via Early College, Dual Enrollment, and Early Out.

How do you help gifted and talented students to broaden their perspective of success beyond GPA, SAT, and ACT scores? They know the score. Offer new ways to learn: PBL, Genius Hour, Design Thinking, and mentorships. Expose them to testing early so it becomes routine. Begin thinking about college and beyond earlier than age-peers.

With appropriate professional development and open minds, educators will be prepared to best serve gifted and talented students. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 1 PM NZST/11 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

TAGT Summit: Serving Secondary G/T Students

Canon City Schools (CO): Transitions & Portability

Accommodating the Social Emotional Needs of Secondary Gifted/Learning Disabled Students

Perfectionism A Practical Guide to Managing “Never Good Enough”

Helpful Tips for Parents of Perfectionistic Gifted Learners

Using Technology to Engage GT Students

Using Technology in Gifted & Talented Education Classrooms: Teachers’ Perspective pdf)

How Can We Prepare Kids For Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet?

A Field Guide to ‘jobs that don’t exist yet’

11 Really Cool Jobs that Don’t Exist Today but Will Soon

The Efficacy of AP Programs for Gifted Students

5 Summer Activities for Gifted and Talented Students

Ten Essential Tips to Help your Gifted Teen Plan for College

thinkLaw: Sample Lesson Download

thinkLaw: Critical Thinking Webinar

Empathy: Healing the Awkward Heart (video 5:49)

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Cybraryman’s Study Skills/Organization Page

Perfectionism and Gifted Students (YouTube 1:04:31)

Failing Fabulously: 3 Ways Re-framing Mistakes Builds Critical Thinking (Video  5:43)

Cybraryman’s Social and Emotional Learning Page

BBC: Make a One Minute Movie

Cybraryman’s Critical Thinking Page

Hoagies’ Gifted: Perfectionism and the Gifted Child

Wonderopolis (YouTube 4:20)

Awkward Silences: 3 Ways Wait Time Enhances Critical Thinking (Video 6:17)

Cybraryman’s The 4 C’s+ Page

Cybraryman’s Soft Skills Page

6 Tips for Helping Your High-Schooler Learn to Self-Advocate

Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different, 2nd Ed. (Amazon)

James and Susie (YouTube 5:15)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Making Critical Thinking Matter – Prioritizing Higher Order Instruction in a World of Constraints with Featured Guest, Colin Seale of thinkLaw

gtchat 08152017 Critical Thinking

This week on Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT our featured guest was Colin Seale, Esq. Colin is the Founder and CEO of thinkLaw, which helps educators teach critical thinking to all students through an award-winning, standards-aligned supplemental curriculum based on real-life legal cases and powerful & personalized professional development that helps educators apply critical thinking across grade levels and subject areas. thinkLaw partners with over 60 schools in 11 states as part of its revolutionary agenda to create a world where critical thinking is no longer a luxury good.

Colin and his team provided excellent information on the importance of teaching critical thinking in schools. Critical thinking is considered one of the most important 21st century skills. The days of viewing education as an information delivery service are gone. Students need to learn critical thinking as it is viewed as a ‘life skill’ necessary for success today.

“We are preparing students for entire industries that do not exist yet. Critical thinking cannot be a luxury good! It is the precursor to innovation. STEAM means zip if students can’t find, communicate, and solve real problems.”                                                                                                                                 ~ Colin Seale, Esq.

Innovative educators are realizing that learning ‘how to think’ trumps content every time. The world’s best education systems know that engaging students’ passions can tip the scales for learning. Colin explained, “[There has been a] paradigm shift: content vs. depth is a false choice. Start with powerful questions and motivate content acquisition.”

Why is it so hard to get today’s K-12 students to think deeply? K-12 students’ brains have been numbed by endless test prep and testing. Smart educators are just saying ‘NO’! Many students must endure hours, semesters, or even years of sitting in classes being required to relearn what they already know. Students think deeply about what they are passionate about. It’s time to tap into those passions! As Colin told us, “We rarely encourage risk-taking and too often punish mistakes. Freedom to fail = Freedom to think.”

Engineers tend to struggle analyzing poetry. We need to make critical thinking transferable across subject areas. From the earliest years in school, cross-curricular teaching strategies can achieve a valuable liberal arts education. ‘Critical thinking’ should never rely on a single approach or methodology. Creative teaching is essential. Regarding professional development , Colin said, “it must be personalized and practical so teachers can apply it immediately. Otherwise, it’s just eye candy. Creativity, communication and collaboration must be embedded within all critical thinking activities.”

gtchat 08152017 Critical Thinking TL graphic

Content knowledge is much easier to assess than critical thinking skills. Colin suggests, “Just like GT testing, critical thinking assessment is best when it’s authentic and varied. Tie it to meaningful activities!” It should cover problem interpretation, inference, analysis explanation and evaluation skills. Critical thinking assessment tools take time to produce; worksheets and standardized testing need to be replaced.

“The crux of critical thinking assessment is students supporting their thinking with sound reasoning.” ~ Sarah Pfeiler, thinkLaw Team

Finally, we discussed practical methods and tools teachers can use to focus on critical thinking more regularly. Early on, teachers need to impress on students that there can be multiple solutions to problems; seek the best. Even very young students can be taught introspective skills; how does ‘what I know or believe’ affect decisions. Colin added, “Students who care about the problems they solve will persevere through the problem-solving process!” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat 08152017 Critical Thinking TL graphic 2

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Free Sample Lesson Download for #gtchat Participants

thinkLaw (Twitter)

The thinkLaw Team

thinkLaw (Facebook)

Silence is Not an Option: The Educators’ Call to Action #Charlottesville

6 Critical Thinking Questions for Any Situation

3 Tips for Helping All Students Become 21st Century Communicators

Critical Thinking Should Not Be a Luxury: 3 Strategies for Unleashing the Potential of Every Student

Three Tools for Teaching Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

5 Questions Principals Should Ask to Assess Critical Thinking Instruction in Teacher Observations

3 Strategies for Increasing Student Voice in Your Classroom

Thinking Like a Lawyer: Powerful Strategies to Teach Critical Thinking to All Students (webinar)

Cybraryman’s Questioning Techniques Page

Cybraryman’s Critical Thinking Page

FlexFridays Take Learning Beyond the Classroom

Photo and logo courtesy of ThinkLaw.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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