When politicians and thought leaders can’t or won’t agree on a basic set of facts, how can we motivate students for the noble pursuit of truth and help them see why it still matters?
An unavoidable challenge arises when students realize that no matter how many facts support a certain conclusion, denial and dissent remain.
“You have to trust [that] the best information, the truth, will always prevail,” he said, though “that’s tough when you face a crowd of people screaming at you on Twitter in probably not the nicest way.”
history tends to prove his assertion right.
“I think we are losing the graces of dialogue and respect, and the ability of at least listening to one another a little bit,” he said, reminding me that truth affects people differently. It would be hard to dispute that coal contributes to global warming, for example, but it’s also true that efforts to stop its production place jobs in jeopardy.
discuss the truth and its ramifications from multiple angles
students should read broadly from individuals across the political spectrum. “Then, it’s important that they have a chance to test those opinions, and their ability to express them in discussions—both with their peers and with knowledgeable others,”
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
In psychology, there are currently two common approaches to empathy: shared emotional response and perspective taking.
Shared emotional response, or affective empathy, occurs when an individual shares another person’s emotions.
Perspective taking, also known as cognitive empathy, occurs when a person is able to imagine herself in the situation of another.
Teachers can be role models who, by example, show students the power of empathy in relationships.
Ask students to break into small groups and discuss how important it is to understand that many people disagree with us simply because they have a different point of view. Debrief the student comments.
In the classroom, literature can be used to help students see a situation from different perspectives.
We designed the HEAR strategy to help students recognize and block out that noise as they devote their attention to listening to one another. The HEAR strategy consists of these steps:
Halt: Stop whatever else you are doing, end your internal dialogue on other thoughts, and free your mind to give the speaker your attention.
Engage: Focus on the speaker
Anticipate: By looking forward to what the speaker has to say, you are acknowledging that you will likely learn something new and interesting,
Replay: Think about what the speaker is saying. Analyze and paraphrase it in your mind or in discussion with the speaker and other classmates.
Be aware of your feelings and thoughts about your ability to understand and share in the feelings of others. With metacognitive awareness, we can all become more effective at taking another’s perspective throughout our lives.