4 Unique Tools for Helping Learners Develop Cultural Empathy

by | Nov 12, 2017

Cultural empathy and humility have always been important, and in the age of global digital citizenship nothing has changed. Teachers today embrace children from all cultures and walks of life. As a result, the learning experiences of all students are highly enriched by this diversity.

Continuing to develop these mindsets in our learners is a must, and we need the tools to do it. The MindShift article 4 Tools to Help Kids Develop Empathy and Cultural Humility by Danny Wagner suggests some terrific platforms for this purpose.

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In his article, Danny discusses the role cultural empathy and humility play in building truly collaborative societies:

“Whether they are seeking to relate to someone of a different race, age, or gender, kids who can better keep themselves in perspective and practice cultural humility are more likely to value the contributions of others to their lives — a necessity when fostering truly collaborative, forward-thinking societies.”

We talk a lot about this concept ourselves in our book Growing Global Digital Citizens. In essence, global citizenship includes fostering cultural empathy as a way of recognizing communities as global instead of merely local:

“Because we are part of a global community, barriers of time and distance no longer exist. This brings about an awareness that technology instantaneously connects us with the world, and with that comes personal and communal responsibilities. We have the means to help and support people all over the world … the goal is not to solve all the problems of every community around the world. The goal is to recognize and empathize with others’ struggles while endeavoring to contribute to positive solutions wherever possible.”

These are the kinds of things Danny’s suggestions are designed to help grow within our global students. So without further delay, here are his picks for resources that can develop cultural empathy in our learners.

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4 Tools for Fostering Cultural Empathy

  1. Global Oneness Project: Multicultural life stories come alive with video and photo essays on this site. “Kids can view a film about the effects of climate change on a local community or explore an article uncovering a culture on the edge of extinction,” says Danny.
  2. Gapminder: Gapminder lets kids analyze data from interactive charts to learn about different global regions. Topics include health, fertility, literacy, debt, and more.
  3. Big History Project: Danny describes the far-reaching philosophical considerations brought about by exploring this site. It looks at science, history, and the meaning of life from a broad lens and ultimately asks questions such as, “Why are we here?”
  4. Parable of the Polygons: Parable of the Polygons is an interactive tool that stimulates thought around cultural bias, diversity, and segregation. The drag-and-drop interface creates scenarios that players are encouraged to reflect on deeply.

Read Danny’s full article 4 Tools to Help Kids Develop Empathy and Cultural Humility on MindShift to learn more about these resources.

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