Standing in the shoes of others

Have an experiential learning day where students are put through different experiences of people with different needs

Photo of Ming Yaw Loo
8 11

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Organize an experiential learning programme for students where they are put through different scenarios that will allow them to see the needs of different groups e.g. navigating the stairwell for blindfolded, having a meal with others in the dark, tying up their legs in order to mimic the joint and muscle stiffness of the elderly, copying notes with their non-dominant hand to help them experience the challenges of being dyslexic etc.

To help students reflect on their experiences, visible thinking routines like 'I used to think... Now I think...' can be given to allow students to move from concrete experience to abstract conceptualization. Commitment to empathy can be fostered through action plans by students on how they can personally support a chosen group of special needs individuals or to petition local government to do more to support that chosen group.  


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Photo of Megan McMahon

Hi Ming! I would love to see this idea built out with the immersive activities and dig into the questions that you will be asking to focus on empathy. How might you frame the activities so that students approach them with sensitivity? Could the the students talk to someone who is in a wheel chair, or blind, or deaf? Is there a book or story they could read in conjunction? What do you envision this lesson/unit to look like over the week or the school year? Do you think the lessons are solely for creating empathy for people with disabilities or could they be used to build empathy for any situation? Would love to see this idea fleshed out in a google doc, that others could also contribute to--let me know if you need any help on getting started!

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