Blog Archives

Empathy and the GT Child

 

Empathy is an expression of emotional well-being which speaks to the social-emotional needs of gifted children. The definition of empathy has evolved over centuries from ‘feeling another’s emotions’ to being viewed as a ‘complex construct’. In “The Caring Child”, Christine shares 4 distinct processes – emotional sharing, emotional mimicry, mental imagining of another’s emotions and differentiating self and others.

Who is iGen and how do they differ from previous generations? The ‘iGen’ is the generation after Millennials – kids who began graduating from high school in 2013. They are the first ones to grow up with Smartphones. They are more vulnerable; isolated and lacking in social skills; and vastly unprepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. The iGen is super connected but unable to engage in ‘irl’ (in real life) experiences. It is the premise for a real-life dystopian future.

For gifted children, the very early years provide an opportunity to nurture empathy by teaching mindfulness and developing an ‘emotional vocabulary’. Young gifted children can be encouraged to become self-aware with an understanding of how they ‘fit’ in the world through stories and play experiences with others. They should have opportunities to express kindness in social settings as reflected in the actions of adults around them.

Empathy is a social skill that is developed through human interaction. When young gifted children experience positive relationships based on their ability to express empathy, their ability to face adversity, trauma, and pain (aka resilience) is enhanced.

The educational needs of iGen have radically changed the way schools look at how to teach this generation. Past pedagogical approaches do not suffice today. Teachers (educators, parents, adults) must be flexible, responsive to student voice, and be willing to embed SEL (social-emotional learning) into the curriculum. Education for the iGen needs to be individualized and involve the measured use of technology that empowers learning.

What are some strategies parents can use to build social-emotional learning skills? In ‘The Caring Child’, Christine delineates social-emotional learning skills as cognitive, social/relational, emotional, character and mindsets. Building social-emotional learning skills involve simple strategies sometimes overlooked by parents of gifted children as being ‘too simple’. Cognitive skills can be built through the use of puzzles, language-based games, or word searches. Bibliotherapy and cinematherapy help develop emotional skills. Role playing/improv improve social skills. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

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 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 Wakelet. 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.

 Lisa Conrad 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

Resources:

The Caring Child: Raising Empathetic and Emotionally Intelligent Children (Prufrock)

Teaching Empathy and Embracing Intensity

15 Ways to Help Kids Develop Empathy

The Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion (Amazon)

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy & Completely Unprepared for Adulthood & What That Means for the Rest of Us (Amazon)

The Social Neuroscience of Empathy (pdf)

Empathy and Compassion

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Prufrock)

I’m Not Just Gifted: Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Children (Prufrock)

The Neural Pathways, Development and Functions of Empathy (pdf)

Developing Compassionate Empathy in Gifted Children

“I feel your pain”: Empathy and the Gifted Child (.docx)

Teaching Empathy: Strategies for Building Emotional Intelligence in Today’s Students (Prufrock October 2019)

Try Something New With Your Kids: Focus on the 3 C’s

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 36: Empathy with Intensity – Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages and More

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Disclaimer: Some resources include affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Dreamstime (Free photo 85156667 ©creativecommonsstockphotos (CC0))

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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.

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.

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