San Francisco School Teaching Unity After 2016 Presidential Elections
Michael Fisher is a teacher at The Millenium School located in San Francisco, California. He said that the day after the 2016 United States Presidential election in which the Republican nominee in Donald Trump won, the tension and banter in his sixth grade class was at an all time high. Mr. Fisher stated that his class seemed to be battling back and forth with some standing up for the controversial view of President Trump and the others still defending the views of the defeated Democratic nominee in Hillary Clinton.
After hearing the students having debates over the outcome of the election, Mr. Fisher came up with a solution. After talking with a fellow teacher, Mr. Fisher now has geared his Humanities portion of the cirriculum from a question the students were asking and that was ‘Do Our Voices Matter?’. Mr. Fisher now asks the question, ‘How Do We Get To Empathy?’.
Along with fellow teacher Stephen Lessard, Mr. Fisher came up with a program where students were asked to look at common ground despite having different views. Fisher believes that if the students can understand empathy then they can break down barriers and still be able to have some common ground for compassion. The lack of common compassion seems to be a trait that has divided the country along political lines these days in America.
One experiment that Fisher used was listening to Trump talk with the sound off. He believes that facial recognition is one of the ways that empathy can help people find common ground. The results of the class and the program have been very good as students have routinely said that they can see the need for understanding with people of different views in order for a better future in the world.