A Chance to Move Beyond Empathy

Do you ever wonder how other people see the world? Sometimes it can be hard to imagine. Every person carries their own worldview, a collection of personal, cultural and societal influences, that shape how they see the world.

These world views, along with social norms, are what drive the decisions that we make, big or small.

The problem is, when we carry these world views with us, they act as a shadow. We do not feel they are there and they accompany us wherever we go. Often we do not even realize it is there and because of this, it can be challenging to comprehend the many alternative world views that exist.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.00.21 AMWorld views are also not static. One individual’s worldview can be similar or vary widely from others across the world or even within their own community and classroom, but it is also highly dependent on the topic at hand. As a student, you may share the same worldview with your classmates on many topics, but at the same time, have more in common with peers on the other side of the world on another topic. They can also change with new information, meeting new people, and exposure to novel experiences or events.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 10.58.06 AMEmpathy is an important process, to try to feel what it is like to be in another person’s shoes. As a class on WorldVuze, you can ask questions to learn about the spectrum of views that students locally and around the world have on any topic in a safe environment. This means, that when your class is learning about global issues, whether it is climate change, human rights, science and technology, or education, you can step outside of yourself and try to have a better understanding of how other people are thinking and why. This provides a base for deep and authentic, real-world learning experiences.

Now, you can take this even one step further, a step beyond empathy. Instead of just putting yourself in another person’s shoes, now you have the opportunity to reflect on your own world view, the way a person sees it from a different point of view. It is hard to examine your own “shadow”, but much easier for someone to shine light on it, if they are coming from a different angle.