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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Creating a Culture of Kindness for Gifted Kids

gtchat 01182018 Kindness

Kindness is treating others as you would like to be treated; making someone else want to associate with you because they feel better about themselves when they are around you. It is taking into consideration everything you say and do as to bring out the best in others; always asking yourself how will your actions affect other people’s feelings.

It is important to promote kindness in the lives of gifted kids. Gifted children do not always experience kindness in their lives; it can be a forgotten soft-skill deemed unimportant in their striving for academic success. They too often experience bullying or thoughtless comments about the expectations of the gifted label. They may ignore this at first, but eventually respond in negative or unkind ways.

What strategies can teachers use to encourage students to demonstrate kindness? Being kind – modeling kindness in the classroom – considering it before speaking or taking action in any situation is a good way to encourage students to be kind to fellow classmates. Creating opportunities for students to be kind to others is an important strategy all teachers can use in their classrooms.

We can prevent negative behaviors such as peer cruelty in schools and classrooms.  Classroom teachers can create a culture within their classrooms which is responsive to student voice; having students be responsible for setting personal goals and plans to follow through to meet those goals. Teaching empathy and using character-based discipline will go a long way to creating an atmosphere in which peer cruelty is not acceptable.

There are some characteristics of gifted kids which affect their ability to display kindness in all situations. They are no different than other kids in that they each have unique personalities; some may embrace expressing kindness in their interactions with age mates/peers and others may not. Gifted children who are twice-exceptional can sometimes struggle with understanding what kindness is or how to express it. It is important to recognize this and take steps to teach/model kindness in their daily lives.

What role can parents play in creating a culture of kindness? Parents are a child’s first and foremost role model. Gifted children can be difficult to parent. Patience and kindness should be exhibited from the very beginning. Just like teachers, parents can create opportunities for gifted kids to express kindness to others at home starting with family members and even family pets. By extension, encourage them to show kindness to their friends as well. 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:

Cybraryman’s Character Education Random Acts of Kindness Page

Cybraryman’s Gratitude Page

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

4 Ways to Nurture Kindness

Preventing Peer Cruelty and Promoting Kindness (pdf)

An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students (Amazon)

Coping Skills for Anxious Times

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (Amazon)

100 Fun Ways to Help Kids Practice Kindness

Helping Strangers Tied to Higher Self-Esteem in Teens

Empathy: How Families Lead with Gratitude and Kindness

Teaching Guides for Good Character

Empathy’s Importance in the Curriculum (pdf – pg. 13)

How a Bad Mood Affects Empathy in Your Brain

Cybraryman’s Kindness Page

How to Raise a Sweet Son in an Era of Angry Men

How this Mom Turned her Late Husband’s Birthday into her Favorite Day of the Year

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Benefits of Social-Emotional Learning

gtchat 04042017 SEL

 

“We know from human history and the latest learning science that success comes from the combination of academic knowledge and the ability to work with others. We need public education to reflect this.” ~ Walter Isaacson, The Aspen Institute

Social-emotional learning has come to be acknowledged as an intricate part of academic success and personal well-being. It is how we acquire and effectively apply knowledge, attitudes and skills to understand and manage emotions. Social-emotional learning helps us set and achieve positive goals; feel and show empathy; establish and maintain positive relationships; and make responsible decisions.

Gifted students are constantly balancing academic endeavors with intense feelings and  greatly benefit from social-emotional learning. They often feel like they don’t “fit in”; and may be the subject of bullying. Asynchronous development can affect social-emotional aspects of gifted student’s life; they need social-emotional learning for its inherent coping skills.

Goals for social-emotional learning should consider acquiring skills that foster self-control and problem-solving; tools needed for success in life. Many schools acknowledge the benefits of social-emotional learning for academic achievement.

Assessing social-emotional learning can include asking students to identify facial expressions to measure social awareness. Teachers can track how long students will persevere through frustrating tasks as a measure of self-control. However, assessing information on friendships may be different for gifted students; different criteria should be used.

What are some inherent problems with using pre-packaged Social-emotional Learning Programs for gifted students? They include: progress is rigid; students are forced to pair or team with non-intellectual peers; and don’t meet the unique needs of gifted students or their asynchronous development. They accentuate differences felt by gifted kids and force them to comply with rules they may not agree with. (Casper)

Social-emotional learning is not a single program or teaching method. It involves coordinated strategies across classrooms, schools, homes, and communities. It is competencies and contexts for teaching them which should reflect the overall educational environment.

Check out the links below as we have added many additional ones since the chat. A transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify page.

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 12.00 NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 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 author: Lisa 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:

Online Tool Attaches Hard Numbers to Social-Emotional Skill-Building

Want Social-Emotional Learning to Work? The Careful Balance of Tech and Relationships

Should Emotions Be Taught in Schools?

Danger in a Can: Why Canned SEL Skill Programs in Schools Can Harm Gifted Ss More Than Help

What Are the 21st-Century Skills Every Student Needs?

Why Social and Emotional Learning Is Essential for Students

How to be More Empathetic (Video)

SEL Part of NYC Charter’s Foundation

Assessing Social Emotional Skills Can Be Fuzzy Work

Chicago School Revamps Model to Focus on Personalized SEL

Building Our Emotional Intelligence Future: How Development of Affective Computing and Artificial EI Transform Relationship with Technology

Gifted children: Emotionally immature or emotionally intense?

Encouraging Emotional Intelligence

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence and Gifted Children

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Feeling it all: Dabrowski’s Psychomotor Overexcitability

Teach Empathy with Literature

Behavior Expectations and How to Teach Them

Embedding Social Emotional Learning Across the Curriculum

Rethinking How Students Succeed

How 2 Minutes of SEL Can Change the Tone for the Day

Building Habits of Success and Measuring What Matters

National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning (pdf)

Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (Infographic)

Summit Olympus is Placing Learning in Students’ Hands (Podcast)

Blended, Project-Based and Social Emotional Learning at Thrive Public Schools

Thrive Public Schools: Social Emotional Learning

12 SEL Organizations Making a Difference

Teaching Children to be Emotionally Intelligent

For Every $1 Spent on SEL, There’s an $11 Return

Social Emotional Learning in Elementary School (pdf)

Principles for Kindness: How to Instill Empathy in the Classroom

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Can and Should Empathy Be Taught in Schools?

Empathy copy

 

In “Human Empathy through the Lens of Social Neuroscience”, Jean Decety and Claus Lamm define empathy as, “the ability to experience and understand what others feel without confusion between oneself and others.” They go on to explain, “Knowing what someone else is feeling plays a fundamental role in interpersonal interactions.”

Although there was not a consensus on whether or not empathy could be taught, the benefits of exposing students to the idea of empathy were seen as a move in the right direction. It was asserted that modeling empathy works best for some, but others agreed that it was a skill susceptible to training &enhancement programs; such as direct narratives and class discussions.

Teaching empathy can benefit the overall school climate and gifted students in particular. Infusing the school climate with empathetic behavior has a residual effect on co-workers and staff.

What are some ways teachers can model empathetic behavior for their students? Teachers should treat each student with respect and expect the same in return. They can model empathy by getting to know their students and practicing empathetic listening.  One way teachers can create a caring atmosphere in their classrooms is by adding ‘empathy leader’ to student ‘jobs’. Another way in the early years would be to include examples of empathetic activities such as having young students share what they like about each other.

Finally, we looked at ways parents could extend the learning. First, they need to address their child’s own emotional needs and help them deal with negative emotions at home. Parents should seek opportunities to model empathetic behavior in everyday life such as using times of discomfort as opportunities to understand empathy; for instance, talking about a distressing news story. They should provide opportunities for kids to help others without a material reward … foster sense of doing the right thing. A full transcript of this week’s chat may be found on Storify.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa 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:

Compassion & Empathy: School Climate Essentials

Teaching Empathy: Are We Teaching Content or Students? from Edutopia

Building a Caring Classroom Culture: An Action Plan

Creating More Compassionate Classrooms from Edutopia

Building Social & Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Empathy from Edutopia

Roots of Empathy

Teaching Empathy: Evidence-Based Tips for Fostering Empathy in Children

The Children We Mean to Raise: The Real Messages Adults Are Sending About Values (pdf)

How Parents Can Cultivate Empathy in Children (pdf)

Developing Empathy

Empathy Teacher’s Guide Grades 3 – 5

Tips on Helping Your Child Develop Empathy

Unleashing Empathy: How Teachers Transform Classrooms with Emotional Learning 

Emotional Intelligence Needs a Moral Rudder

Teaching Empathy to At-Risk Kids

13 Top Games That Teach Empathy

Building Community in the Classroom Page from Cybraryman

Rethinking How Students Succeed

Elevating Empathy on Pinterest

Empathy: The 21st Century Skill

4 Unexpected (& Science-Backed) Ways to Develop Empathy

Does Literature Make You Empathic?

The Development of Empathy An Essential Life Skill!

Nurturing a Kinder, Gentler Child With Empathy

The Relationship Between Emotional-State Language and Emotion Understanding: A study with School-age Children (pdf) by Veronica Ornaghi and Ilaria Grazzani

Human Empathy Through the Lens of Social Neuroscience (pdf) by Jean Decety* and Claus Lamm

Empathy: Why It’s Important, Why We Should Nurture It in Our Kids

Start Empathy: Equip Students. Transform Our Schools. Change the World

Empathic People are Natural Targets for Sociopaths 

Empathy Stretching: Helping Children Exp Switching Places Seeing/Feeling Another Side by Dr Michele Borba

BLOOM 50 Things to Say, Think & Do with Anxious, Angry, & Over-the-Top Kids by Dr Lynne Kenney

Cybraryman’s You Matter Page

Empathy and Kindness Go Hand in Hand

3 Amazing Breakthroughs in the Science of Empathy

Why We Should Teach Empathy to Improve Education

 

Video Links:

Sesame Street: Mark Ruffalo: Empathy (YouTube 2:28)

Brené Brown on Empathy (YouTube 2:53)

5 Minute Film Festival: Videos on Kindness, Empathy & Connection from Edutopia

Empathy: The Heart of Dabrowski’s Theory – Linda Silverman

The Power of Empathy: Helen Riess at TEDxMiddlebury

 

Image Courtesy of Flickr  CC 2.0

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