Event: Day Conference: Empathy Education and Education of the Heart.

EICSP Day Conference:

Empathy Education and Education of the Heart.

Organised by Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP, Scottish Charity, SC038996, www.eicsp.org

Sanctuary, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.

Saturday 24 November 2018. Registration: 9.30am-10am. Event: 10am-5pm.

Event Description: 'Empathy involves connecting, building relationships, listening, and caring for others. Colesante defines empathy as "the intrapersonal realization of another's plight that illuminates the potential consequences of one's own actions on the lives of others" making it possible for us to learn how to act and react responsibly, or even compassionately, towards others. Empathy enables us to reach out and connect with others in our human condition, and it is a crucial need for our species, having an intrinsic evolutionary and neurological basis for development.' www.empathyed.org

'Education of the heart involves teaching love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, mindfulness, tolerance and peace.' The 14th Dalai Lama.

This day conference will look at ways to support educators to build classrooms and life experiences where empathy and education of the heart are underlying foundations of their students’ interactions and ways of being, as well as a goal of their education.

Conference: 9.30am-5pm.

9.30am-10am: Arrival and Registration.

10am-10.10am: Introduction and Welcome: Dr Ian Wight.

10.10am-10.30am: Plenary address: Dr Ian Wight.

Empathy Education and Education of the Heart:
Inner Teaching and Inner Learning.

We have been invited to look at ways to support educators to create life experiences where empathy and the related education of the heart (and not simply the mind) constitute underlying foundations for teaching and learning – of their students, and in themselves. This might often feel like the ‘territory beyond’ much normal, formal, education. Extraordinary post-formal approaches merit consideration to achieve the enhanced quality of interactions and more evolved ways of being - associated with a new heart-set, on a par with mind-set.

How might we better effect an education that is both a drawing out, and an opening up, of what lies within? Of an open heart, and not simply an open mind, as our default mode, lovingly embraced? I hope to explore aspects of these questions in the context of transformational professional learning, of what professionals might better essence, in their everyday professing. Kindness, gratitude, love and compassion will be on the agenda.

BIO: Ian Wight PhD FCIP GTB is a retired Canadian city-region planning professor now re-firing in his native land, with a particular interest in the meshing of the personal, the professional and the spiritual in the context of professional-self design. Curious about applications of U Theory, for helping professionals better presence their awareness, by activating an open mind, an open heart and an open will. Currently seeking to ‘tap the spirit’ of folks like John Muir and Patrick Geddes, especially in terms of implications for today’s built environment professionals. 

10.30am-10.40am: Discussion.

10.40am-11am: Plenary address: Dr Autumn Roesch-Marsh.

The Empathy Circle:
Connecting Giving Empathy with Receiving Empathy.

Insights from human development have helped us understand the crucial importance of attunement. In order to develop empathy we must be given empathy, carers must tune into our needs and feeling and help us to make sense of them.  As we are understood, we learn to understand ourselves and others.  Although the forms of expression might change, this basic need for empathy does not change as we move into professional domains.

For teachers, academics, social workers and others to show empathy they must be supported and receive empathy themselves (from their employers, their line managers, their colleagues, wider society).  While the practice of reflective supervision is well established in professions such as counselling, most educators do not have regular opportunities within their workplace to reflect on the emotional aspects of their work or receive emotional support.  Others who do receive regular supervision, such as social workers, complain that it is overly task focused.  This presentation will consider practices (both individual and collective) which help foster the virtuous circle of empathy in organisations and why this is so crucial if we want empathy to grow within individuals and organisations.

Bio: Dr Autumn Roesch-Marsh is a qualified social worker who currently works as a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Edinburgh.  She set up an Empathy Network at the University of Edinburgh and is involved with a range of teaching and research which touches on the importance of empathy.

11am-11.10am: Discussion.

11.10am-11.30am: Tea/coffee break.

11.30pm-11.50pm: Plenary address: Alan McLean.

Developing Emotional Understanding.

I will introduce a model that is being used in primary schools to develop young people's emotional understanding. The key skill in emotional understanding is what has been termed emotional granularity, the ability to fine grain and label our emotions accurately. The wider the range of emotions we can draw upon the better. When we know the specific emotions we are feeling, we are more able to trace the cause and better understand why we feel the way we do. This gives us a better idea of how to deal with the situation. The model illuminates three phases of progression in emotional understanding that enables a whole school approach to developing emotional understanding.

BIO: An author, a teacher and for over 20 years an active researcher into wellbeing and motivation, Alan McLean was formerly a Principal Psychologist in Glasgow. As well as books, Alan has written several staff development programmes including Promoting Positive Behaviour in the Primary School, Promoting Positive Behaviour in the Secondary School and the award winning Bullyproofing Our School. His first book, The Motivated School, was published in 2003 and has since been translated into Chinese and Italian. He was commissioned by the Scottish Government to produce a training programme on motivation in 2006. His second book, Motivating Every Learner, was published in May 2009. Alan's third Book, Knowing and Growing: Insights for Developing Self and Others was published in 2017. It is being translated into Italian. His recent work is freely available on www.whatmotivateslearning.com in the form of self-reflection tools for students, teachers/lecturers and parents. He has also produced a curriculum pack for students, the Spirals of Wellbeing Programme. Alan is currently working on a fourth book- The Emotional Compendium: A Resource for Developing Emotional Understanding.

11.50pm-12pm: Discussion.

12pm-12.20pm: Plenary address: Sue Palmer.

Early Childhood Education and Care:
‘Learning Through Heart, Hand and Mind’.

The current interest in adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) has resulted in a movement to make   Scotland ‘the world’s first ACE-aware nation’.  This movement was started by specialists in early child development who are determined to put ‘positive, supportive relationships’ at the heart of early years practice.  Upstart Scotland (a campaign for a Nordic-style kindergarten stage for 3- to 7-year-old children) is deeply supportive of their aims but concerned that, in emphasising the importance of secure attachment between children and carers, we do not lose sight of the equal importance of children’s active, social, self-directed play – as often as possible outdoors, within nature – in children’s affective and cognitive development.

BIO: Sue Palmer, a former primary head-teacher in the Scottish Borders, is a literacy specialist, writer, presenter and ‘childhood campaigner’. Her literacy work included over 250 books, software packages and TV programmes for schools, many hundreds of articles for the educational and national press, speaking engagements throughout the UK and around the world, and independent consultancy for the England's National Literacy Strategy, the National Literacy Trust and the BBC. Over the last ten years, her books on child development in the modern world – notably Toxic Childhood (second edition 2015) – have led to frequent media appearances and comments about changes in children's lifestyles. Her latest book, Upstart: the case for raising the school starting age and providing what the under-sevens really need, was published in 2016. Sue chaired the Scottish Play Commission, served on the Scottish Government’s Early Years Task Force and currently chairs the Upstart Scotland campaign.

12.20pm-12.30pm: Discussion.

12.30pm-12.50pm: Plenary address: Dr Gillian Allan.

Empathy: Creating the Stories of our Lives.

Like most people, I have spent most of my life exploring empathy: longing for it, finding it, seeking it out and offering it. This has been my way of understanding myself and this world, which is often bewildering. As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by human behaviour and I have explored it from different viewpoints, especially through my own lived experience of being in the world with others. These experiences have led me to reflect very deeply on the role of empathy in creating the stories of our lives – how we decide who we are and come to a sense of knowing about this. I will speak about this, share some of my own experiences and invite you to reflect on yours.

BIO: Dr Gillian Allan has been engaged in a life-long exploration of empathy, constantly reflecting on her own lived experience of being in the world with others. This includes a PhD on friendship and learning disability, undertaking gestalt psychotherapy training, and exploring empathy in research with support workers as well as running a festival of empathy in 2016. Gillian is currently a Development Coordinator with the Edinburgh Development Group http://www.edg-sco.org/

12.50pm-1pm: Discussion.

1pm-2.15pm: Lunch.

2.15pm-3.05pm: Keynote Address: Professor Bart McGettrick.

Education as the Practice of Ordered Freedom.

The educated person is formed through three main “forces” - hope, justice and love. 

The most educated are people of wisdom rather than knowledge; of service and generosity of spirit rather than seeking personal aggrandisement; people for others rather than for the self.

In the formal education system, in the past and at present, attention has been given, perhaps even too much attention, to the “content” of education. The curriculum and assessment dominate educational discussion. Yet all effective education is based on right relationships.

In so much of our wider society relationships are fragile and fractured. The environments in which children live are uncertain and unknown. It is a world of “chaos.” This seedbed of uncertainty is fertilised by the poverty that pervades society. The combination of chaos and poverty is a toxic fusion for any society and for any person.

There are layers of hopelessness; and these layers are impervious. They do not absorb the pain of the people. This pain leaves the people low in spirit and without hope. In their lives there is no beauty - and the spirit is oppressed and depressed.

Those engaged in education can bring order in a disordered world:

Can bring hope in a world of despair,
Can bring justice in a world of injustice; and
Can bring love in a seemingly careless world.

These are some of the features of “Empathy Education.”

BIO: Professor Bart McGettrick was Principal of the former St Andrew’s College; the first Dean of Education at Glasgow University; Dean of Education at Liverpool Hope University; and now chairs the International Board of Regents at Bethlehem University in Palestine. He is retired and lives in Glasgow. Much of his time is now spent with those in need in The Middle East.

3.05pm-3.15pm: Discussion.

3.15pm-3.35pm: Plenary address: Ms Jo Hilton.

Carl Rogers, Jesse Taft and the Foundations of Empathy.

Although many people will have heard of Carl Rogers, the ground-breaking American psychologist who was one of the founders of client-centered therapy, the person-centred approach and humanistic psychology, there are others that made major contributions. I’m especially interested in Jessie Taft, social worker and social work educator, who inspired Rogers to think about the ways in which the counselling relationship was an important factor when engaging with those in distress. Why does this matter when thinking about empathy? The link is with the way that Rogers goes on to see empathy, not just as a separate ‘variable’ that can be identified in the therapeutic encounter, but as something profoundly connecting and relational.

BIO: Jo Hilton is a person-centred therapist, supervisor, researcher and trainer, working in Edinburgh. She has a particular interest in the early years of the person-centred approach and also in the history of psychoanalysis. She works with an inspiring team of local and international colleagues at the Hope Park Counselling Centre which is part of the University of Edinburgh.

3.35pm-3.45pm: Discussion.

3.45pm-4pm: Tea/coffee break.

4pm-4.20pm: Plenary address: Dr Christine Kupfer.

From Empathy to Loving-Kindness.

What is empathy? This talk will explore the concept and compare it with similar notions such as sympathy, perspective taking, emotional contagion etc.  It is vital to define empathy before it can be applied to education, as different forms of empathy require different abilities and have very different consequences. As will be shown, not all forms of empathy lead to positive emotional states or pro-social behaviour.

We will briefly explore the psychological development of children to show what forms of empathy are possible at what age, and which factors contribute to the growth of the ability to empathize.

The talk will then focus on compassion and loving-kindness. Neuro-scientific research has found fascinating results about meditation techniques and empathy. Mindfulness and compassion have also found their way into some classrooms. We will look at the results of these educational experiments regarding the development of compassion, and see what we can learn from them. 

Bio: Dr Christine Kupfer holds a PhD in Education and a Master’s in Social Anthropology. She has done research on Ayurveda, on education, on mental health of children and on Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. She has published widely on Tagore, including a monograph on Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy and education, and is Deputy Editor of the journal Gitanjali and Beyond. Her current research project is on the Dark Side of Meditation. She also teaches art to children at her art school ArtLab Dunbar.

4.20pm-4.30pm: Discussion.

4.30pm-4.50pm: Plenary address: Dr Reiko Goto Collins.

Empathy-based Art Practice.

I am an environmental artist working across theory, practice and technology to develop deep relationships with more-than-human others. The question is what kind of co-experience can be created based on empathic relationship and understanding. I have been working with flora and fauna since 1988. I will talk about evolving work with horses in Scotland. The talk will focus on defining empathy after Edith Stein; ways to get at the experience and memories of the horses, and the necessity for freedom to clearly grasp their intelligence and choices. 

BIO: A Japanese artist who has lived in both the US and UK, Dr Reiko Goto Collins is a principal in the Collins & Goto Studio. She has been a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at University of Edinburgh. She participates in an international Climate Change Network: Uncertain Human Futures and is currently involved in a working group on Living Organisms and Their Choices. She is a distinguished research fellow at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, at Carnegie Mellon University where she was in residence from 1996 through 2006.

4.50pm-5pm: Discussion. 

NB: There will be no refund if you cancel your booking.

Empathy Education and Education of the Heart

Cost: £10/£8 (Concessions)/£3 (Students). For a Registration Form:
Contact: Neill Walker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0131 331 4469.

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