Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Neuroscience, Empathy, and Musical Chairs

Are we wired for competition, empathy, or both? This essay from Columbia University’s Teachers College Record starts with a discussion of the child’s  game musical chairs and asks how much fun it is for the child who fails to get a seat. Author Nadine Dolby concludes:

Questioning and eliminating games such as musical chairs from our children's lives may seem silly -- too minor to have any impact on the future of the planet. But "musical chairs" is not allowed in my daughter's Montessori school, and for good reason: only practices (that includes games, toys, etc.) that lead to the development of a peaceful, empathic child are allowed. I would suggest that we need seriously to consider the daily practices of our own, grown-up lives, and ask the same question. I think we will find much to get rid of, and many more joyful, cooperative, productive ways to fill our days, and remake our world.

 We might analogize to our students'  lives and what happens when they don’t get a good grade, positive feedback, or a job. Worth reading.



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