Teaching 6-8th graders to be Empathetic Citizens

Emotional Intelligence 

With our current media landscape it is becoming significantly more challenging to teach middle school children to understand their emotions particularly empathy. With our current culture of bickering and “hitting back” the trickle down effect is real! Students have to digest the fact that what they see on television (reality TV and our reality TV president) are not real. This is compounded by the fact that young scholars must digest that what they see on the internet is not real either. This reality can be even more disheartening for students like mine in Spanish Harlem that are not motivated by their day to day environment, in fact some are drowning in it.

The best way I’ve found the help children understand emotions is by highlighting their interactions with each other. I find myself asking them after every significant comment or experience, “how did that make you feel?” Some scholars are to the point now where they communicate this information without being prompted.

One memorable instance of students demonstrating empathy occurred in my history class. Despite redirection one scholar continued to disrupt instruction. As I continued to deliver the lesson I noticed another student losing focus due to the disruption. I gave the distracted student our nonverbal sign for persevere. I allowed the student to carry on hoping he would grow tired of the class ignoring the attention seeking behavior. I was surprised moments later when the distracted student turned to the disrupting student and said calmly, “I feel like you’re distracting me.” This simple comment to me was an emotional breakthrough. Neither child grew hostile, frustrated, or out of sorts. They communicated effectively and I was able to move on with the lesson. Media in America has created a tangible rift in our emotional intelligence but by teaching children to communicate effectively we can help them better understand their emotions.

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Colin Kaepernick’s Nobel Peace Prize

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Colin Kaepernick deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for peacefully protesting oppression in the National Football League.

Since game one of the 2016 NFL preseason quarterback Colin Kaepernick has knelt protesting police brutality, racial injustice, and systemic oppression. Kneeling for something larger than himself Colin has inspired athletes of all ages professional and amateur across the spectrum of sports. NFL athletes continue to kneel in solidarity. Kaepernick elaborated on his peaceful protest in countless interviews and social media post; battling opponents on the field and the media in the pressroom week after week the quarterback persevered. What better way for the global community to demonstrate unanimity than honoring activism in the arena of America’s greatest game?

As stated on Kaepernick7.com, “There is nothing noble about the team that inevitably signs Colin Kaepernick.” That is to say, what is will be regardless of a nod from the Nobel Foundation or a job. Kaepernick’s success in life is inevitable it’s in his DNA. I just figured I’d use my platform to echo the sentiment one more time. Just in case it counts. If anybody is reading. After all, it is our mandate as humans for a fruitful future to praise and acknowledge those actively working to attain peace and a better tomorrow. Colin Kaepernick deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

Colin Kaepernick….

“My faith is the basis from where my game comes from. I’ve been very blessed to have the talent to play the game that I do and be successful at it. I think God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I’m at. When I step on the field, I always say a prayer, say I am thankful to be able to wake up that morning and go out there and try to glorify the Lord with what I do on the field. I think if you go out and try to do that, no matter what you do on the field, you can be happy about what you did.”