Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is compassion a skill?

This tweet this morning on #satchat got me thinking. She followed it up by saying maybe "passion" would be a better word than rigor. But it got me thinking...

What if we could teach compassion with rigor in the sense of depth of knowledge or cognitive rigor.

Part of me says, "But it's a feeling, not a skill."

But a bigger part says, "But then how do I become more compassionate? Can I? Can I help others/my students become more compassionate?"

Recent readings in Mindfulness and The Joy of Living make me think compassion can be cultivated, and that makes me think it's a skill. And if so, isn't it an important skill?

And then I thought, "Wow. What if our graduation standards including things like compassion?"

Of course, then we'd have to measure it (maybe?). And that could be complicated (to say the least). And I doubt the cognitive rigor framework can be applied to social emotional skills. But we could certainly develop a rubric for the so-called (misnamed?) "non-cognitive skills." (Or maybe some less rigid sort of self-assessment or reflection would be more appropriate.)

Either way, part of me thinks, "That's crazy!"

But the bigger parts thinks, "But what if we could do it?"

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