I recently got into a rather sad 140 character twitter discussion about teaching social justice in the social studies classroom. This particular coach was adamant that it was not my job, nor his, nor any teacher’s job to teach social justice or empathy in our classrooms. He argued that we are to remain neutral and unbiased and there was no way to maintain that transparency in the classroom if we taught about social justice, empathy, tolerance, social awareness, respect, etc. There came a point in the conversation that this coach and myself were not ever going to see eye to eye no matter what angle I tried. I say all of this to urge you to read the article posted below with this social justice rant. We cannot be neutral on a moving train. Empathy, awareness and social justice are not only important to teach, they are necessary to functioning in our society and living well. We should be promoting these things in every classroom, on every level so that hopefully one day we will have a world full of aware, empathetic, creative thinkers and doers…not apathetic, ignorant judgers. I mean come on, even FORBES gets it.
“The capacity for empathy builds the socio-economic potential for individuals, and, further, likely holds the key for the success of business in the 21st century. Empathy isn’t just about hugs and pats on the back. It is a skill that can make young people more productive in work environments that require cooperation and in a global economy that becomes more complex with each passing day. It is what turns them into future leaders.”