Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of guest posts looking at the topic of empathy and education. Using expert commentary from a variety of perspectives, we hope to gain insight and deepen dialogue about the topic.
Our first guest post comes from Nora Cobo, Center for Inspired Teaching. Center for Inspired Teaching was founded by Ashoka Fellow Aleta Margolis, and is a Network Partner in the Activating Empathy competition, which closes this coming Friday, March 30.
When academic achievement is measured only by standardized tests, student success is too simply defined by increasing test scores. Center for Inspired Teaching is working to change this narrow conception by giving empathy a prominent place in a teacher's toolbox.
While test-based assessments are essential, they reflect only one type of data and one kind of skill that students need. Schools must also focus on students’ social-emotional growth in order to create sound learning environments. Such settings help students develop interpersonal competence and improve short- and long-term academic and personal outcomes.
Center for Inspired Teaching partners with teachers to change the school experience for students to include these critical skills. Our professional development programs encourage teachers to rethink their beliefs about how learners learn and how classrooms should function. Through a physical, intellectual, and emotional process, teachers navigate the art of teaching and learn to empathize with their students’ experiences in an energetic and safe environment: