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As a teacher with 29 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the... Read more

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photo of Katie leading Daylon on trust walk

The Walk of Confidence: Growing Empathy Through Vulnerability

If you were to lose your eyesight, imagine what life would be like. If your friend could not see, and you were his guide, imagine that. My students responded in writing to these powerful situations. Then, they took a partner and a blindfold and participated in an experience they will never forget. With eyes covered, partners toured the school. Down the stairs, up the stairs and through the hallways they walked, putting one foot in front of the other, holding on tightly to their assigned guides. Many were fearful, some stumbled and lost footing and some were delighted by the adventure. After fifteen minutes, partners changed roles, giving each student the opportunity to lead and to be led.

In this profession, every single day, I think about the importance of vulnerability, responsibility and trust. To establish and gain trust, we need to experience vulnerability. Then and only then can we truly understand the responsibility of caring for and supporting another. And through this type of experience, empathy is born.

Trust Walk

Daylon’s Trust Walk Experience

photo of Katie's writing

photo of Michael's writing

photo of Adrian's writing

photo of Philip's writing

photo of Devon's writing

photo of Linda's writing

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Mary Ruth McGinn

About Mary Ruth McGinn

As a teacher with 29 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the learning experiences and opportunities of students and their families.

Sixteen years ago she had an experience that changed her life and altered her professional path in a profound way. She attended training sessions at The Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City, spent nine intense days living the process of creating an original opera and learned how to replicate the experience with her students. She then began creating opera with her students and using the process of creating the opera as a vehicle through which to teach curriculum and life skills. The authentic purpose for learning coupled with the arts provided the perfect stage on which to construct a love for life-long learning.

She currently teaches at Stedwick Elementary School in Montgomery Village, Maryland where she is creating another original opera with her third grade students.

Read more of Mary Ruth’s blog Learning for Real.

Comments

2 Responses to “The Walk of Confidence: Growing Empathy Through Vulnerability”

  1. On April 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm responded with... #

    Hi Ms.McGinnis I love that video I miss you all so much great work I wish I could come back to stedwick. Well I hope you guys didn’t forget me great work

  2. On April 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm responded with... #

    Great Experience. The way in which the children write about their experience show they are growing as writers. Congratulations.




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