The Power of Empathy: Why We Need it Now More Than Ever
By Katie Bradford |
I believe in the power of empathy. On a day-to-day basis, it’s one of the primary tools in my toolbox as a manager and leader on my team. When I see struggle - whether it’s solving a complex problem for a client or the personal struggle of a team member - it’s my job to meet that person where they are at, try to understand their struggle, and work with them toward a solution. It’s not my job to exact judgment about how they got there. We can work together to learn from past mistakes, but only so we can focus on becoming better moving forward.
Empathy is at the heart and soul of education. Good, personalized, authentic learning is crafted by looking at where each learner is coming from. What do they already know? What experiences do they have that we can build on? What do they need to be successful going forward? Not only do we ask these questions as we build learning experiences, but we want deeply to answer them correctly and inventively so we can truly advance the learning journey of every single student.
Right now, the world needs more empathy - we’re experiencing a great deal of struggle. Our black communities are hurting more than ever. Our LGBTQIA brethren are fighting to make their voices heard during Pride Month. Each and every one of us is living in fear of a global pandemic as nearly half a million people have died. Marginalized and isolated people everywhere are aching to have their voices heard and acted upon. We need broad, empathic, authentic opportunities for learning more than ever - and we need them to be online.
At Construct, our mission is to “enable opportunity through transformative learning.” Every single Construct staff member joined this organization, at least in part, because we believe in the ability of education to empower people, equalize access to opportunities, and add more diverse voices to important conversations taking place across the globe. The very idea of equal and affordable access to education assumes that every single human being on this planet is deserving of the same opportunities, regardless of race, orientation, or gender. We want to lift up every single person, and we are in the enviable position to do so as we support and build online learning around the world.
In order for the online learning we build to serve and represent all populations, our team that builds this online learning must itself span a broad spectrum of ideas, backgrounds, and viewpoints. We recognize that our differences make us stronger and more balanced, and I’m proud of the diverse team that we have built. We are ready to move forward in empathy with learners, to help them navigate the complex and rapidly evolving world we live in, so that they, too, can go out into the world and make positive changes.
Katie Bradford - Chief Operating Officer, Construct (Salt Lake City)