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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Kindness: Can it be Taught?

As a classroom teacher and bonus mom of two incredible children, I’m always on the hunt for resources that can help me in my mission to raise kind, empathetic children. And, as the 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year, I’ll continue spreading the incredible importance of social emotional learning and relationships. Both are so interwoven with seeds of kindness. In my experience, relationships are a true indicator of successful classrooms. I spoke about it in my 2015 TEDx Talk, and on the TED blog highlighted here.

When I meet with parents about their child’s report card, I always stress that the academic side of the report card is of equal importance to the behavior side. Even Google is now saying that STEM skills are great, but people skills are greater.

So, how do we teach kindness? Empathy? Is this even possible?

A few months ago, a colleague reached out to me on Instagram to have me preview and give feedback on Advancement Courses. When I scrolled through the many course offerings, I immediately was drawn to a course titled, “Kindness: Can it be Taught?” I enrolled in the class and began my work immediately. I learned so much and began to implement strategies in the classroom and at home the same day.

Some of the connections to classroom application I learned include:
·      Techniques for teaching students that all people are born with kindness and how important it is to build that trait
·      Tools to teach students about “random acts of kindness,” how these acts feel for both giver and recipient, and how to practice their own acts of kindness
·      Exercises that help students read facial expressions in order to develop empathy and perspective-taking skills
·      Ways to identify students who have experienced or are experiencing barriers to developing kindness, and supporting them in overcoming these obstacles
·      Activities for your students to practice building honesty and trust, two key elements in behaving kindly toward others
·      Practices to help students behave with kindness toward all their peers, and especially toward those with emotional, physical, or behavioral disabilities

And, here’s what you will do throughout the course:
·       Assess how the biological roots of kindness present at birth can either be fostered or hampered
·       Appraise methods of working with students who need extra support to overcome barriers to kindness
·       Value the power of the teacher to implement short- and long-term practices to perpetuate students’ ability to be kind toward themselves and others
·       Interpret the experience of “random acts of kindness” as both giver and receiver, including anonymous acts of kindness, in order to help students engage in these types of acts
·       Compare the many kindness-related positive traits that can be instilled in students, such as empathy, perspective-taking, honesty, and trust and estimate how to convey the importance of these traits to students
·       Relate how children with emotional, physical, or behavioral disabilities are often treated unkindly to instructional methods that support a classroom culture of kindness for all

As teachers, it is vital that we are continually learning. In fact, my classroom mission statement is “Everyone’s a Teacher. Everyone’s a Learner.”

If you’re ready to start your course to teaching kindness, you can use code TOPDOG20 to save 20 percent off your purchase or on any of their 200+ grad-level, online PD courses for teachers.

Now through Dec. 21, you can also visit their Facebook page to participate in their 12 Days of AC Giveaways! Comment-to-win for prizes like a Qball and Evo Robot .

This is a sponsored blog post. All thoughts are my own.

Kayla Dornfeld
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[name=Kayla Dornfeld] [img=] [description=2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year. Mrs. West Fargo International. Internationally Awarded 3rd Grade Teacher. CEO. Global Keynote Speaker. Author. Flexible Seating Pioneer. TEDx Talk Speaker. 2018 Sioux Award Winner. Innovative Education Task Force Leader.]

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