Edited Recording of Education Call: May 21, 2014
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Lending a Helping Hand
As was demonstrated in our conversations so many of you have access to extensive networks of potential partners and other contacts for education network. Would you consider letting your fellow colleagues and associates know about the Charter for Compassion network? We can accomplish a great deal more by adding hands, hearts and minds to our end goal of bringing shared dialogue, and compassionate action to our network efforts. If you were on the call, and even if you weren't and are reading this, please consider inviting others to our compassion movement. It's easy to register.
Education Compassion Reader We have a wealth of material on the Charter website. Each of our sectors has an equivalent of what might constitute a full website unto its own. Many of the questions and suggestions raised during the conference call are on the website as resources. Here is a quick overview of what you might find if you go to the Education Section of the website:
Sign the Charter for Compassionate Schools (the Charter is for elementary through high school, and here you will find the Charter, the rationale for the Charter, including reference to the importance of science and compassion, and resources to support signing the Charter).
Schools, Colleges, Universities and Learning Institutional Partners (this is a gateway to not only knowing who has been involved in creating compassionate institutions, but it provides criteria and guidelines for joining the Charter's Education community)
The Education Blog is a conversational platform for people to explore the world of education. It is a place to share and explore ideas about compassionate education and related skills (empathy, gratitude, happiness, kindness, mindfulness, etc), where we share what is happening in classrooms around the world, and link educators and students with one another. We want to hear from you. Join us in the discussion.
The Education Compassion Reader is divided into topics that range in presentation from investigating compassion and other related skills (i.e., altruism, empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, happiness, integrity, justice, kindness, mindfulness, resilience, self-compassion, and responsibility), and finding ways that they can be applied to education, to reading about some of the latest research on the science of compassion.
Of utmost importance for parents, as well as teachers, are articles that relate directly to "Raising a responsible child. Also, there are two sections that speak to new ideas and theories about education. "Thinking about Education," provides background information and in most cases, video presentations on radical ("getting to the root") and transformational ideas for the classroom and beyond, from pre-school to graduate school, and within community-based settings. "Successful Education Models and Organizations" presents new approaches that are demonstrating some significant measure of success throughout the global community.
Have an article you think others should know about? Let us know and we'll see what we can do to get it up in the Reader.
Education Partners to the Charter. We are over 160 partners in all fields of education from Ashoka/Changemarker Schools Network to The F Word: A Project of The Forgiveness Project to The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to Stanford's Heroic Imagination Project and CCare program and many specifically themed education organizations: bullying, conservation, enviroment, interfaith, mindfuness, peace and play among others.
Voices Compassionate Education is the curriculum arm of the Charter's Education Program. The Voices Compassionate Education Project resources are about honoring the stories, poetry, and arts of people of different ages and from an international perspective. Browse through thousands of thematic pages that speak directly to peoples' experience of "raising their voices," surviving wars and revolutions and working to bring about peace through compassionate action. Our Resources are divided into Books and Curricula, Education Packets, Projects, Reflective Writing and the Arts and Syllabi and Courses. While you are at the site, check out Playback (stories you need to know about) and Words and Violence. A fourth edition is in the planning stage. You might be interested to contribute. See below.
Charter Staff on the Education Call
Presenter: Christopher Kukk is a Professor of Political Science at Western Connecticut State University, a Fulbright Scholar, and founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation. Dr. Kukk was a counter-intelligence agent for the United States Army, a research associate for Cambridge Energy Research Associates, and has provided the Associated Press, National Public Radio, The Economist magazine, NBC-TV, CableVision, and Connecticut media with analysis regarding American politics and U.S. foreign policy. He gave a talk at TEDxHayward 2013 about “building compassion.”
Talk: Director for Center for Compassion and Creative Innovation at WCSU. Starting compassion and creativity clubs at K-12 and universities. Educating through the 5C’s. Where are we going with education. The 5C’s is the way he teaches. Many students don’t know how the facts live. Need to get compassion in the learning of values in the school curriculum. As an educator, trying to get students to learn how to learn- doing it in a holistic fashion (not siloed). Thinks standardization of education is going too narrow. Should not standardize passion out of education. Bring in creativity. Challenge- get children excited about learning. Trying to convey concepts. Create lego-type learning environment for children. Want to know who the students are. We give students the reigns of their own education. Children can see a new way of marching forward. Education is a 2-way street.
Recommended by Christopher Kukk
Mehrotra, Rajiv. All You Ever Wanted to Know From His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Happiness, Life, Living, and Much More (Hay House, 2009).
His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes himself as “a simple Buddhist monk.” However, to millions of people around the world, he embodies the highest human aspiration: to be happy. His messages of compassion, altruism, and peace are articulated in a unique secular ethic for our times and supported with techniques and practices that can help us achieve these ideals. He is the Dalai Lama—or simply, His Holiness—the epitome of the Buddhist model of loving-kindness and an incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion and mercy. Evoking global respect and admiration, he is both a prophet and a statesman for our troubled times, yet he’s intensely human and accessible. He’s an inspiration to millions, yet many feel as if he touches and speaks to them personally. He is a Buddhist but belongs to all humanity. His Holiness is one of the most recognizable—and recognized—faces in the free world. This remarkable book is an edited compilation of mostly personal conversations spanning nearly 20 years between the Dalai Lama and Rajiv Mehrotra, one of his early disciples who’s now the trustee and secretary of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility, which was established with the funds from the Nobel Peace Prize. Here, the Dalai Lama is a teacher to a spiritual aspirant; a divine master and a temporal leader; an ambassador for Tibet and a lovable guru-philosopher to the whole world; a practitioner of the 2,500-year-old teachings of Buddhism; a Tibetan Buddhist and an interfaith ambassador; and an intense practitioner of mind-training and an inveterate optimist. His multiple hats may appear contradictory at times, but he balances them all, living his life with ease and happiness. Within these pages, the Dalai Lama’s disarming candor, his deep empathy for his student’s quest, and his wisdom—garnered not just from texts and scriptures, but also from an active engagement with life—offer invaluable insights to us all on how we may find true happiness in our lives.
Dalai Lama, His Holiness. The Universe in a Single Atom (Harmony Books, reprint, 2006).
Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Niels Bohr, Einstein. Their insights shook our perception of who we are and where we stand in the world, and in their wake have left an uneasy coexistence: science vs. religion, faith vs. empirical inquiry. Which is the keeper of truth? Which is the true path to understanding reality?
After forty years of study with some of the greatest scientific minds, as well as a lifetime of meditative, spiritual, and philosophic study, the Dalai Lama presents a brilliant analysis of why all avenues of inquiry—scientific as well as spiritual—must be pursued in order to arrive at a complete picture of the truth. Through an examination of Darwinism and karma, quantum mechanics and philosophical insight into the nature of reality, neurobiology and the study of consciousness, the Dalai Lama draws significant parallels between contemplative and scientific examinations of reality.
This breathtakingly personal examination is a tribute to the Dalai Lama’s teachers—both of science and spirituality. The legacy of this book is a vision of the world in which our different approaches to understanding ourselves, our universe, and one another can be brought together in the service of humanity.
Zak, Paul. The Moral Molecule: How Trust Works (Plume 2012)
Paul J. Zak's proclivity for taking blood samples has earned him a nickname as the "vampire economist." But his sanguinary habit is backed by his scientific quest: What if there was a master switch for human behavior? On, and people are loving and generous. Off, and they revert to violence and greed. By studying thousands of blood samples, Zak has pinpointed just such a switch: a brain chemical called oxytocin. Sprinting around the globe and into the human brain, The Moral Molecule is a dazzling narrative as erudite and entertaining as bestsellers like Flow, Drive, and Why We Love.
Work of Tania Singer. You can find an article about her work here on the Charter's website. Tania Singer is director of the Department of Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.
Watch for three of Chris's books to be released this fall: 1) Connecting Space: Five Cs Connected Learning (5-6 grade CCSS book), Kuu Puu: The Christmas Tree of Tartu (children's book about overcoming loss during the holidays) and The Compassionate Human (Adult trade book that weaves the Connected Five Cs into school, home & work). You can also follow him at www.wcsu.edu/ccci and www.chriskukk.com. The Center for Compassion, Creativity & Innovation's October 2014 conference info can be found at: http://www.wcsu.edu/compassioncreativity/events.asp
Q: Does compassionate education fall on either the learning or becoming side of the debate? Or, does it straddle the divide or is it neither?
How do we make compassion education gain traction. Please give specific examples of compassion and how it works in the classroom. How do you make compassion (an abstract concept) live, work, move?
A At the University level- start with co-curricula (start compassion and creativity clubs). Teach courses for all freshman about the nature of inquiry that weaves science into compassion- I use the “The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality,” by the Dalai Lama
5th and 6th grade–-incorporate Dark matter and Dark Energy- Using Darth Vader, Dark energy tries to tear us apart 68%; Dark Matter is the glue that holds us together 27%. The glue that keeps us together (the good) is twice as strong as that which tries to tear us apart. Become the dark matter in your own world.
Q Re: Abrahamic Faith and all major religions- compassion is the common theme among the world’s major religions; Major obstacles- is the lack of understanding of Islam and the Koran- Islam has been subjected to a lot of abuse and is now characterized as a violent religion.
A Ask: Can you explain to me, which religion owns compassion? Compassion predates religion. Use Robert Axelrod’s books and Darwin’s “Decent of Man,” Chapters 2,4, 5.
Journalism is based on “If it bleeds, it leads—and that is what we see in Islam.
If it bleeds, it leads (journalism). Tell the story of Chuck Yeager and his story of testing rockets.
Q How to teach compassion across education and the model (we are hard-wired for compassion.)
A Fear causes the opposite of compassion Dr. Tanya Smith- Science Mag Sept 2013. Use Paul Zak “The Moral Molecule."
Q Strategy for implementing compassion as it necessitates knowledge of the “other.”
A International student exchange program- swap seats with a student across the world. UN trips, UN conferences, UNESCO. “All You Ever Wanted to Know Form His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Happiness, Life, Living and Much More” –Dalai Lama. Can get to religion through the philosophical lens. Einstein wrote that “we are interdependent” similarly to the Dalai Lama. Making the facts come alive to students- weave together the different disciplines.
Q How do we bring compassionate community into our schools when everything is data oriented?
A The administrators are the ones who usually veto. Common Core plus Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports. Weaving together values, by leading with the science: Paul Tuff: “How Children Succeed”
We have to understand the administrators and where they are coming from- focus on the concepts. We need to bring in non-cognitive information they need.
The Popcorn Sharing Session
Vivian: Education for education itself is being compassionate to self.
Andrea: Education is so important about different cultures and religions. Learning about different religions in more detail is important. Character coupons get children excited about different values that they practice. Keep things in positive reinforcement mode.
Kate: this call is part of the not dark matter in bringing people together.
Jim: great call- practice of mindfulness and meditation is important. University of Virginia is doing a lot of work in the medical school and with nursing. Talk about Compassion Games and how they can be helpful in school systems.
Marilyn: We will share about the Compassion Games and Relays and the Compassion App in the report.
Sande: Roots of Empathy- raises children with skills of compassion. Three years later they are showing these skills. Read about Roots of Empathy in the Charter Compassion Reader.
Barbara: importance of self-development to deal with systems that are not yet compassionate. Need to do inner work and translate that to people in healthy way. Have seen Compassion Games used. Have to work with openness. Doing it with kindness.
Peter: liked compassion and creativity clubs- will go forward with that in elementary schools. Needs clubs and circles set up in schools.
Barbara Kaufman: consensus about using story-telling. Also, people using TED talks, NPR, and all sorts of resources. Need call about how to support teachers.
Terry: having been taking it to a homeless shelter.
Margo: wanted to add emphasis on story-telling- important to let children tell their own stories. Does active mindfulness practice. Can be taught in public schools
Wendy Wood: Dr. Kristen Neff- has done a lot of work and research in compassion- at University of Texas in Austin.
Angus:self-esteem is very important. Need to be honest with children and ourselves about the power of negative emotions.
Lesa: expressed the importance of educational systems supporting the intentional daily practice and habit of compassion. Introduced the Compassion Relays and Games as a great tool for schools to engage students. Also, invited everyone to download the FREE mobile app Compassion Today! as a wonderful resource for self- compassion and for inspiration to share with children and youth.
In response to the question posed during my small-group's breakout session, "how do we move forward in implementing compassionate education that facilitates learning and becoming?", I'd like to share the following 15 May 2014 New York Times magazine article, "Who Gets to Graduate," by Paul Tough (http://nyti.ms/1sQVz83). I mention the article because it offers a fantastic, proven model of how peer mentoring can meet students compassionately, where they are (one of Professor Kukk's interests in response to the 'learning vs. becoming' debate).
Moreover, the article shows how peer mentoring can help to motivate at-risk students to greater levels of educational achievement. In brief, the article discusses one professor's efforts at the University of Texas at Austin to implement creative and compassionate strategies for peer mentoring that repeatedly succeeds in increasing educational success rates in individual classes as well as graduate rates among poorer students (typically those hardest to graduate).
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PARTICIPANTS AND STAFF
A good friend of mine once chided from his armchair that he found it funny when Olympic athletes say "I can't believe it" after victory. There are tons of ways victors who've worked tirelessly for some result seem to contradict their work by implying that their success caught them by surprise. I used to laugh right along with him. How do you work hard for something, something that really matters to you, and then find yourself amazed that you produced the very result you were going after?
Now I know.
The students in our high school were encouraged to participate in the Celebrating a History of Compassion game I created. Copies of the books were in the classrooms and they were also able to access the links from the Facebook page of the same name. Read more.
Another blog entry is Have You Completed Today's Compassionate Action?
Our InterFaith Film Festival is a modest and very humbling endeavour and cooperative effort that unofficially includes the Pluralism Project, NAIN, URI, and additional friends and organisations. We are able to collect around 80 contributions from dozens of nations, religious traditions, languages, ethnic communities, and cultures. It is very humbling to receive the positive responses and contributions that are provided from so many participants, from so many different communities.
To convene the film festival, we ask contributors to upload a video unto YouTube (according to YouTube's standards and practises). We then screen each contribution, according to our stated criteria, and select all contributions that meet that criteria. We then compile the contributions into a playlist on our YouTube channel dedicated to our InterFaith Film Festival. Contributions include short films, documentaries, home videos, slide shows, music videos, cartoons, and additionally.
It is difficult to gauge exactly how many people actually view each contribution specifically because of our InterFaith Film Festival (as the contributions are available to view by the general public by numerous paths). However, we do record the number of views each contribution has before we convene our IFFF, and the curre . nt views can be observed on demand. Within the past few months, many of the views increase by 200 and 300%, whilst some views only increase by a few dozen (and some increase by both 200% and a few dozen. It is comparatively safe to conclude that 1,000's of views can be attributed to our IFFF.
Due to the significant amount of effort, as well as subsequent emergence of additional international interFaith film festivals like the Tony Blair Foundation "Faith Shorts" and the Insight Film Festival and Campfire Film Festival (based in Melbourne), we have yet to repeat our initial film festival. The original intent of our InterFaith Film Festival is to eventually establish a website dedicate to the sharing of our stories from our many respective communities. And we are still working on that.
Character Coupons Reinforcing good character and demonstrations of compassion can be supported by the use of 2"x3" Character Coupons that have a place for the student's name and the character trait that was noticed by the teacher of other students. Tickets also can be used and saved to be exchanged, depending on how many have been saved.... for jolly ranchers, a small fun item or free time to read, etc. This simple approach to behavior has worked with gang members I taught in highschool as well as students classified as ED, who began overtly caring for those who had a disability, being more thoughtful in their interactions with one another, and finding ways to be helpful in the community, etc. Six Pillars of Characters are:trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship.
Education: An Overlay of Character and Compassion in Teaching Units Teachers are overwhelmed with the responsibilities of teaching; therefore, may not want to add "more to their plate" with special lessons on character....or specifically highlighting compassion. Moving beyond a merely factually based education, suggesting that teachers conjecture with their students the possible character traits of historical figures which may have informed their decisions and the possible qualities of those who were responsible for the many great discoveries in the field of science might be a subtle and important strategy to intoduce character and compassion in their teaching units. For example, science teachers could enhance their science units by adding the compassionate concept that attainments of science can redeem hunanity from unnecessary suffering. Thus, finding ways to embellish the already existing curriculum might faciliate the introduction of a compassionate theme in a non obtrusive way.
Strengthening the Teaching About Religion (STAR) Having compassion for others is part of most world religions, yet is not necessarily taught in the World Studies curriculum. Values are usually not mentioned but are necessary for laying the foundation for a compassionate humanity. The Strengthening the Teaching About Religion ( STAR) book, contains responses from members of 11 different faith traditions to a set of 42 common questions about the faith's founding, ethics, and morality, types of worship, and other topics that provide an insight into the beliefs practices and values of each tradition. There are 3 supplementary booklets: VALUES, ENVIRONMENT, SYMBOLS. The STAR Supplements can be a useful tool for teachers providing them with in-depth information in a concise format which can properly inform students, correcting their misconceptions and biases based upon misinformation. It allows students to have more respect for one another and to see the similarities among the faiths. Having this kind of education humanizes the "other", stereotypes then melt away and understanding, empathy and compassion can then florish. A website to find out more information would be: IFCMW.org
Compassion in Daily Life
For both children and adults learning to embody compassion in daily life and interactions means deepening empathy. This is best done through experiential learning that touches the heart (rather than just learning facts and information). There are many resources that support experiential learning (which can be applied in public schools as well as other less restrictive environments). Here are two resources that deserve to be better known.
Awareness Through the Body (awarenessthroughthebody.com): Engaging activities that bring deep levels of self-knowledge, collaboration, trust, responsibility, concentration and relaxation. For ages 5 to 95 regardless of learning style or learning challenge. Opens that still quiet voice within. Can be and is being integrated into school curriculum in the US, Europe, and India.
Transformative Language Arts (tlanetwork.org): TLA acknowledges and supports the power of the spoken, written, and sung word to encourage community-building, cultural shifts, health and healing, liberation, and celebration. They are, for instance, supporting a global community-building project, One City, One Prompt. Many practitioners use their skills with school children, for instance, helping kids tell their own stories as a way to open the heart as well as to learn core standards.
Two Canadian Organizations
Roots of Empathy's mission is to build caring, peaceful and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults. At the heart of the program are a neighbourhood infant and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained Roots of Empathy Instructor coaches students to observe the baby's development and to label the baby's feelings. In this experiential learning, the baby is the "Teacher" and a lever, which the instructor uses to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. (www.roots of empathy.org)
PeaceQuest's mission is to cultivate humans' deeply held commitment to peace. PeaceQuest originates in Canada, but we wish to create affiliations around the world in a four-year project as we remember the centenary of World War 1 in grief and hope: grief for the tragedy of war and hope for the acheivement of peace. We are asking important questions about peace and war:
Should we lament or celebrate war?
What do we want our militaries to achieve?
How do we make peace so that we can keep peace?
How can people who believe in peace achieve peace?
There are four PeaceQuest streams: Faith (Believing in Peace); Education (Learning about Peace); Policy (Working for Peace) and Culture (Acting for Peace). We invite affiliates to participate in one or all of these four streams. (www.peacequest.ca)
Recommended Organizations and Websites
Desmond Tutu Forgiveness Challenge: http://forgivenesschallenge.com/ (note that the Charter is a sponsor)
Garrison Institute: Contemplative Teaching and Learning Initiative: http://www.garrisoninstitute.org/contemplation-and-education
Pachamama Alliance: Awakening the Dreamer, Game Changer, Generation Waking Up: https://www.uptous.org/symposium
Serve2Unite: using art to create compassion for the other; http://serve2unite.org/
United Nations Stop Disaster Video Games: http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/en/home.html
“We are Hard Wired for Empathy” Jeremy Rifkin: http://voiceseducation.org/content/empathic-civilization
Kenneth Zeichner: https://education.uw.edu/people/faculty/kenzeich
Excerpt from his webpage:" My research has examined different aspects of teacher education in the U.S.A. and beyond. For many years, I have been focusing on understanding the historical trajectories of different approaches to improving teacher education and on elaborating the underlying assumptions, program elements, and consequences of different approaches to social justice oriented teacher education."
Many of you have been asking about Charter products that can be used for individual wear or to help with promoting the message of compassion. Also, you might be looking for extra ways of adding to your fundraising events. Click on the photos above. Each will introduce you to products being offered by three of our partners. You can contact each one personally to make individual or multiple purchases.
Compassion Games and Compassion Relays
The Charter for Compassion International and the Compassion Games International invite you to join the Compassion Relays!
The Relays are year-round and are a great way to engage everyone in compassion. They help mobilize compassion in individuals and throughout communities: in schools and youth groups, businesses, organizations, community groups, governmental entities, etc. The Relays generate energy and momentum leading up to the Compassion Games in September. When we take up the Compassion Torch, we agree to discover or do an act of compassion each day for a least a week, report on the Compassion Map, and pass the Torch on to someone else. After passing the Torch, we keep the flame of compassion in our own lives as a lifelong habit.
Anyone, any age, anywhere can participate in the Relays, now and year-round. The Relays activate each of us to seek, discover, and practice compassion in our daily lives. We share acts of compassion and pass on compassion person-to-person and group-to-group around the world.
**Use the Compassion Relays Torch logo to highlight and pass on news about the Relays to friends, family, and colleagues via social media and hand-to-hand.
Remember these 2 key links for the Compassion Relays!
Report your acts of compassion and your Relays experience via the Compassion Map: https://compassiongames.crowdmap.com/reports/submit.
Compassion Today! - A New, Free Mobile App
Lesa Walker, MD, MPH, a Charter Partner and Charter
Education Program Associate, has created the new, free "Compassion Today!" mobile app for iOS and Android devices:
Voices Compassion Education
Voices Compassion Education and Barbara Kaufmann, founder, writer and editor for Voices and Violence have extended an invitation to submit material for the next edition of its online publication Words and Violence's 3rd edition, released last fall, featured performance arts as communicator and change agent (film, dance, hip hop, music as messenger and universal language and more…) The upcoming 4th edition will address ways in which we “bully the planet,”-- that subject limited only by human imagination: climate change, war, sustainable agriculture, waste and recycling, drilling, bio-fuels, oil dependence, Indigenous land disrespect, ocean and water, animals: humane treatment, farming, extinction…. Words and Violence is accepting submissions for the 4th edition. If you would like a compendium of what is featured in the project, please contact Barbara at www.onewordsmith.com.