Empathy and EQ (emotional intelligence) may just be the most critical character traits of the present and future. As my students have recently defined it in Synergy, empathy is putting oneself in another person’s shoes. I wonder if we do that enough in schools – actually placing ourselves in other people’s shoes. On September 30, 2011, I published a post called “Freaky Friday – just an idea for a student-teacher switch.” This weekend, friend and colleague John Burk sent me a post entitled “Make Teachers Classroom Students.” What if teachers and students swapped roles more often? What if we wove these practices into the fabrics of our schools?
[Author’s Note: Before finally hitting “schedule” on this post, I turned to my book shelf to reference Dan Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind. Sure enough, “empathy” represents an entire section of the book – one of the six highlighted senses. But I knew that. What struck me was this – until I referenced the table of contents, I did not realize how much I was mentally utilizing the six senses as the themes for these 60-60-60 posts. A major “AHA!” moment for me.]