As we slowly transition from summer pause to school ready, I continue to reflect upon the essentials needed to begin a great school year.
Creating and maintaining the right classroom environment (atmosphere/tone) for every student is an essential element; however, I would argue creating a safe space for children to learn and take risk is the ultimate goal when establishing your classroom setting. Teachers can create a safe space for children by injecting a healthy dose of empathy into the classroom. Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, would champion an influx of empathy into every classroom because he believes that when teaching children to be empathetic to others they develop other essential life skills. Remember, a compassionate child grows into a caring adult. And, a person who cares about others will make decisions in the workplace for the good of the team and organization; not just for self and management. Like Goleman, I would argue that it is essential that this generation of children must have empathy taught and modeled every day in school. The question is how? How do we introduce social emotional learning into our day when we have to finish units in order to prepare for tests? Homa Tavangar (author/blogger) gives helpful suggestions about how to create a caring classroom setting for children of all ages.
Teachers and parents – as you begin the school year – please take a few moments to think about how best to inspire empathy in your students every day. tlb