Thursday, May 13, 2010


Daniel Pink’s six senses, or essential aptitudes, for success: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning.

Empathy: The ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s position and intuit what that person is feeling (p. 159).

I agree with Pink and I also recognize that this is hard to do with adolescents since they are so egocentric. However, I think it’s worth pointing out to teens and modeling it for them to build their self-awareness. Shortly after I finished Pink’s book, I ran across this article about what students should learn in school, but aren’t. The author listed Global Empathy as something kids should learn.

[Education technology consultant Alan] November said he was talking with a senior executive at a global investment bank recently, and he asked the executive: What is the most important skill for today’s students to learn so they are prepared to succeed in the new global economy?

“Empathy,” the executive replied—the ability to understand and respect different points of view.

Most of today’s companies do business with customers all over the world, and several also have branches in multiple countries. Chances are good that when students enter the workforce, they’ll be working with—or doing business with—someone from another nation, with its own culture and its own unique perspective, at some point in their career.

It’s not hard to find people who are smart, the executive said. What is hard to find are employees who have to ability to empathize with, and be sensitive to the needs of, people from other countries

The response this executive gives really stood out to me especially in light of the new Common Core Standards for college and career readiness. What are we doing to prepare our students for the global workforce?!

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