27 October 2010

Practicing Empathy

In a recent post, Will Richardson shared a video of a discussion between himself and Lisa Brady, the superintendent of the district he was formerly employed by and where his kids now attend school. It was a great discussion about the challenges and successes of going 1:1 and the realities of introducing social networking. As Will writes, "I think it’s great opportunity to hear a school leader in the midst of shifting a traditional school to a inquiry-based curriculum grounded in technology and online social learning tools talk about some of her thinking around making those changes."

I highly recommend viewing it.

As I've been thinking about the big shift that is occurring and talking about it with colleagues, I'll admit that I don't always remember to practice empathy and put myself in their shoes. In a comment on the same post from Will, Susan Davis wrote the following:

I am struck by your (our) frequent use of the word “shift.” To many, I think it feels more like a quake. Even as a quake, the earth moving under our feet — the change in the way learning is happening in the world — can make us feel excited (hey, that’s cool, I wonder what that shaking means…) or it can feel pretty scary (hey, my house is falling down around me).

This conversation reminds me to feel a little more empathy for those whose educational houses are falling down around them.

When Lisa Brady asks, as if for those scared and shaken folks, “Where’s my entry point?” we can imagine how they are seeing a world where the doors are moving side to side so fast they can’t see beyond them. Still, there is some urgency, the ground is shaking, and they need to get through one of those passages and safely to the other side.

It was a good reminder to me to practice empathy with my colleagues "whose educational houses are falling down around them."

3 comments:

Ben Braymer said...

I really liked the SLA videos. It is amazing to think there are high schools out there doing this type of learning and creating. I hope it comes to us soon. Or, I guess I should say it's up to us to bring it here. May the "Valley of Insight" be with you!

Kelly said...

I have to agree, we must remember that many of us "newer teachers" grew up with the internet and the technology boom and many more experienced teachers struggle in this area. The problem is the kids in our classes are even more up to date and tech savvy than we are. Empathy is important but so is education and staying current.

Marcy said...

I can certainly see how it can be overwhelming to teach all the necessary standards all the while incorporating new and oftentimes unfamiliar technologies into instruction. I think something that could be helpful would be to ask the students to brainstorm different technologies that they use. Since these kids are growing up in a technological society, they have great insight to many technology resource. Having the students be the teachers in the aspect can be a great resource.