Cultivating Student Empathy: Acting to Understand

Social Justice & Empathy

How do we help students to move beyond their own perspectives to understand the lives of others? How do we challenge them to deeply understand another person whose life and experiences differ greatly from their own? How do we cultivate empathy, compassion, and even love across the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, and disability?

These questions lie at the heart of social justice education.

To create a truly equitable society, we must be able to empathize with experiences we may never share. We must break down “empathy walls” to transform our society. But how do we do so?

Theater in the history classroom provides one possible answer.

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Fidgeting for Physics: Spinner Science in Six Steps

Tch Next Gen Science Squad

This time of year most of us are a little fidgety.

Summer is right around the corner, but as we’re constantly reminding students “the year isn’t over yet” and “don’t give up,” some of us find ourselves needing the same pep talk from our administrators and social media networks. We’re almost there — but in the year of dabbing here and there, flipping hydration, and slime (yes, slime!) enters an item that’s making heads spin.

What is this amazing tool that’s taken our students by storm? The fidget spinner!

 

Wait. You mean that at the end of the year our students are obsessed, unknowingly, with NGSS phenomena? Students are loving science and some don’t even realize it.

 

So how can “Spinners” be spun into relevant phenomena for science classrooms and what is the science behind the spin?

 via GIPHY

 


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DO NOW: What is Whiteness?

Social Justice & Equity
Editors Note: This post was originally published on Catherine’s blog on Medium.

DO NOW: What is Whiteness?

After taking out their supplies and getting ready to engage, my students reacted to the question I’d written on the board as their “DO NOW.”

Some students giggled. Others made faces  –  perplexed, overwhelmed, entertained. A few began to chat with classmates. Some looked at me hoping for guidance. My co-teacher, having just entered the room, said, “That’s a great question!”

After giving my students time to react, I told them I knew it was a difficult question, but I wanted them to think about it. I told them there were no right answers, but they should draw upon their lived and learned experiences  —  and that I expected them to try to respond.

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