Are your students struggling to navigate this All-About-Me world? Do they see themselves in your curriculum? Are they learning to stay curious rather than fear “otherness”? Human connection is our single greatest tool in combating self-promotion & superficial relationships. Bottom line: we want to cultivate caring changemakers of tomorrow. Providing the building blocks to foster a mindset of intentional empathy in our students is crucial, yet many educators find it to be incongruent with the academic demands of their classrooms. Luckily, the foreign language standards of Communication, Connection and Community provide a perfect outlet to not only touch upon social-emotional (SEL) skills but make them part of a comprehensive curriculum. We’ve got the blueprint for you! Join us to see how our original framework for teaching empathy evolved into an 18-month long Action Research project that explored the benefits of storytelling to foster empathy. Hear student voices as they shift in their ability to feel with others. Learn how you can do this in your classroom as well. The data regarding storytelling and empathy spoke volumes and we could not help but change our pedagogical approach even more. With simple, inclusive tweaks, we learned, the lens of awareness can be ignited in both ourselves and our students. Allow us to show you how with thought and intention, you too can create inclusive, more diverse, global, and reflective stories that promote empathy and intercultural competence for all of your students.
Samara Spielberg , Spanish Department Chair, and Camilla Iturralde , Spanish Teacher, are both so grateful to work together at the Allen-Stevenson School in New York City where they have the pleasure of co-teaching across several grades. Their cackles can be heard school wide as they believe the most important tool in teaching is to make it come alive with joy and laughter! They realize that it takes great vulnerability and risk taking to engage in a foreign language and have found that storytelling is the universal icebreaker for their all male students. Together they developed a four-part framework that allows educators to take SEL and Empathy from being a “soft” skill to being a CORE skill. The growth they witnessed in their own classrooms inspired them to dive even more deeply into their empathy work so that they could share with other educators. After receiving a grant through the International Boys Schools’ Coalition, they traveled to Australia to connect with educators from Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada. Together the group compared and contrasted the different ways that storytelling has been used in schools around the world. Back in New York City, they spent the past two years studying how different types of storytelling in a foreign language classroom can foster empathy. Spoiler alert: they cracked the code! They are eager to share their work and findings with you!