Teacher Spotlight: Bryan Thomas

February 28, 2019

Global Awareness and Compassion

The spotlight shines on Bryan Thomas and his high school psychology class for the level at which Global Awareness and Compassion are integrated into this classroom.

Students have been studying a unit on the psychology of violence, and Mr. Thomas has built project-based learning opportunities throughout this unit that explores empathy at a deep level and engages students by studying relevant issues.

The students study the psychology of violence and then apply how it pertains to school violence which is a subject they are highly interested in, passionate about, and affected by.

The students place themselves in the shoes of those who have been victims of school violence and are given the task of writing letters from their future selves. This letter writing assignment creates a profound level of empathy that is difficult to produce in a classroom, but Mr. Thomas accomplishes it. A student from the class stated that it has been the most valuable and relevant classroom experience he has ever had.

In addition, students study current policy, legislation, and current events surrounding the topic and are given the opportunity to express their ideas, opinions, and present their findings to the class. Researchers like Dr. John Medina have researched how empathy increases learning and executive functioning. You can listen to his interview or read about it on EdSurge On Air.

In addition to this example of implementing GO competencies into his classroom on a daily basis, Mr. Thomas is a leader in collaboration with his colleagues to project-based learning opportunities for students. Some examples include the Greco Roman games last Fall and the Capstone projects they are preparing for this Spring.

Thank you Mr. Thomas for providing this opportunity for students!