(CS EdX Sessions) Gersbach, Katrina

Title: What Role does Kindness Play in Education?

Presenter: Katrina Gersbach (Lecturer in Social Work and Human Services)

Co-presenter(s): Dr Fred Velander, Dr Peta Jeffries, Emma Pascoe, and Dr Monica Short

Faculty / Division: FoAE

School / Unit: Social Work and Arts

Session Type: Interactive Discussion

When: Wednesday, 17 November 2021 @ 11:15am – 12:15pm

Where: Zoom meeting link


How can we teach in an empathetic way in uncertain times? Data regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on educational institutions, staff and students are emerging, for example, around the effects of regular disruptions to academic programs and declining student mental health. The impacts are far-reaching and pervasive. The extant literature regarding the importance of kindness and empathy within pedagogy provides insights into teaching and learning during this turbulent time. We invite people to co-create with us how this literature can inform our teaching and learning.

In this interactive discussion informed by co-operative inquiry principles, we will be applying a strengths-based student-centred approach. First, we will introduce key concepts from the literature about kindness and pedagogy, explicitly focusing on empathy and compassion. Together we will review the proposition that learning scaffolded by kindness helps promote quality learning outcomes. Second, we will consider how we can translate this contemporary thinking into our current work environment. There will be opportunities to share experiences from our teaching of how kindness encourages student learning and retention. Third, we will highlight different teaching strategies that can allow us all to survive and thrive during the current complex times, such as sharing joy and innovating assessment tasks to be strengths-focused.

Lastly, together we will contemplate how applying single, double and triple-loop learning approaches that promote engagement and empathy provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate kindness to all in the classroom.