Empathy By Numbers

I just saw this video from GOOD.

Data Source: — Written and Produced by Gabriel Reilich. Animation by Jake Infusino.

The last two lines of the animation really hits home:

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This video would serve as an excellent provocation as part of the Design Thinking process. With this information, students would be equipped to think about others on a massive variety of topics:

  • gender equality
  • population growth
  • access to education
  • human health
  • differences in religion
  • communication and languages
  • access to technology
  • basic human needs (water, shelter)
  • distribution of wealth

The statistics in this video were really interesting to me but three stood out in particular:

There would be 50 men and 50 women.

This makes Justin Trudeau’s cabinet selection of 50% men and 50% women and his response as to why he did so (“Because it’s 2015”) even more of a no-brainer. But it also poses the question as to where else we see a 50/50 split in gender roles? Politics? Teaching? Aviation? Technology?

31% Christian, 23% Muslim

I was surprised by this one too.If the world were 100 people, almost 1 in 4 would be Muslim. Which makes the vile rhetoric coming from the US Presidential Elections even more deplorable. To be actively alienating and condemning 1/4th of the world’s population makes zero sense to me.

English would be the third most spoken language.

Mandarin and Spanish both rank ahead of English in terms of languages spoken. Quickly followed by Hindi and Arabic.

Mostly, this short video made me think of where I fit in in all of this and how, if the world really were 100 people, would I fight harder for equality? I think I play my very small part in doing things like loaning money through Kiva but what else? Then I heard the very eloquent Justin Trudeau speaking on Multiculturalism and the roles schools can and should play in its development. So good!


How would I use these videos in school?

The first video is great for PYP Exhibition students. I would use this as students are thinking about the problems and issues that are interesting to them. In terms of thinking empathetically and creating solutions to problems, I think this video goes a long way in distilling the facts of where we are in the world so that children can use this information in a positive way.

The second video I would use in faculty meetings. I would have teachers identify what it means to be multicultural and how that would look in light of an ever-changing demographic within our school communities.  I would then play the video and have teachers reflect on their initial ideas. Including ideas of other cultures doesn’t mean excluding ideas of the predominant culture.

How do you bring global ideas to your classroom?

1 thought on “Empathy By Numbers”

  1. i feel it would also be helpful to have short videos, age appropriate,to be shown to students as they progress from grade to grade level, demonstrating the advantages of practicing the ” Golden Rule “

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