Tag Archives: education psychology

The Power of Compassionate Teachers

The 2018 Golden Globes were down in Nielsen ratings compared to last year.  According to Variety.com in a January 8, 2018 post, the Golden Globes drew in 19 million viewers representing an 5% drop in total viewers from 2017 (20 million).1 Audiences watched the 2018 Golden Globe awards which aired on January 7, 2018 and although viewership was down, the news coverage for the event had a lasting impact as a result of the acceptance speech given by the lifetime achievement recipient of the 2018 Cecil B. de Mille Award – Oprah Winfrey.  Though her moving speech lasted less than 10 minutes, it is one that will be remembered for a long time.

 

If the media’s response is any indication of whether it will go down as one of the greatest acceptance speeches, I’d say it is well on its way.

As of the writing of this blog, one 9.40 min clip posted by NBC of Oprah’s speech garnered over 7.5 million views and a google search of “Oprah Golden Globe 2018 speech” produces over 21 million hits just 5 days after the airing of the show.2

While I can go on about the themes in her speech, cultural statements she made, her great display of emotional intelligence, her well-structured speech, or its timeliness, it is what she didn’t say in her acceptance speech, but rather what she said in the backstage press room that stood out.

In the typical fashion of Golden Globe winners, Oprah exited the stage after her acceptance speech and proceeded backstage to take questions from journalists.  So, what did millions of viewers not hear in her speech that they missed in from her Q&A session with the press? For that information, you had to wait for the fourth question asked by a female journalist.  The journalist asked,

“What advice would you give 7-year-old Oprah (or 13-year-old Oprah) about surviving as a woman in this world?

The full video of her backstage Q&A session was posted by Variety on January 7, 2018 and has an impressive 1.1 million views, 9.55 minutes (within 5 days). 3 Interestingly, Forbes wrote the only news piece about the backstage session. 4 What would Oprah tell her 7-year-old self?  Without hesitation, Oprah responded,

“At seven, I was so sad and um… at seven, all of my real love came from my teachers. And so my teachers, (I would say that to anyone in this room), you have no idea the power of noticing another human being.  And what it feels like when somebody knows that they been seen – truly seen by you.  It is the greatest offering you can give.”

Did you catch that? All of her real love came from her teachers.  During those formative and critical years, her teachers showed her love and noticed her.

Oprah goes on to describe how the core need of humans to be noticed continues into adulthood.

“And all those years of the Oprah show, the greatest lessons I learned was that after every show someone would say invariably in one way or another um, “How was that?” I would finish an interview with…politicians, Barack Obama, George Biden, George Bush…Beyonce… they all say the same thing, “How was that?” and so I started to see that there is this common thread in our humanity, where everybody wants to know, “How was that, did I do okay? Did you hear me?  And did what I say mean something to you?”

Sound familiar?  Feedback. Whether you are being interviewed by a journalist or interacting with the teacher or peers in the classroom – we all desire feedback.  Feedback offers student insight into what they did or did not do well.  Feedback informs students about performance, behavior, competencies, understanding, and it is where learning takes place.  We all desire positive, constructive feedback.

Oprah concludes with a powerful statement on the importance of being heard.

“So, I would have to say that recognizing that in other people has helped me to become, you know, a person of compassion, a person of understanding, a person who can interview anybody about anything cause I know that at the core of you is the same at the core of me, you just want to be heard.”

You won’t see this part of her wisdom highlighted in blogs, news, or features.  Yet, her words give teachers something to think about.  Students (and teachers) have a core need to be noticed, receive feedback, and be heard.  Educational Psychology agrees:

  • Teachers effect student’s personality and performance,5
  • Teachers influence the classroom’s social context on learning and teaching,6
  • Teachers play a role in establishing a climate in which all students are accepted, valued, and respected,and
  • Teachers influence intrinsic motivation for learning in students and encourage life-long learning.7

As we enter a new semester, let us reflect on the influence we have on learners through interpersonal relationships and communication that occurs with our students, and thereby affects learning and student long-term success.

References

  1. TV Ratings: Golden Globes Down Slightly From 2017 http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/golden-globes-ratings-2018-1202656292/#utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=social_bar&utm_content=bottom&utm_id=1202656292 via @variety
  2. Oprah Winfrey receives the Cecil B. de Mille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. https://youtu.be/fN5HV79_8B8
  3. Oprah Winfrey – 2018 Golden Globes – Full Backstage Speech. (9.55 min.) https://youtu.be/4CGBSGEkbKA
  4. Oprah Winfrey – 2018 Golden Globes – Full Backstage Speech. (begins at 06 min., https://youtu.be/4CGBSGEkbKA?t=5m6s)
  5. What Oprah Winfrey, The Star of the Golden Globes, Had to Say Backstage (Fores, January 8, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2018/01/08/what-oprah-winfrey-the-star-of-the-golden-globes-had-to-say-backstage/#426985353e32)
  6. The effect of teachers’ attitudes on students’ personality and performance. Procidea Social and Behavioral Sciences 30 (2011) 738-742. M. Ulug, M.S. Ozden, and A. Eryilmaz (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.10.144)
  7. American Psychological Association, Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education. (2015). Top 20 principles from psychology for preK–12 teaching and learning. Retrieved from http:// www.apa.org/ed/schools/cpse/top-twenty-principles.pdf
Dr. Jessica M. Ibarra, is an Assistant Professor of Clinical and Applied Science Education at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) at the Medical Campus in Brook City Base in San Antonio, TX.  Dr. Ibarra teaches gross anatomy and neuroanatomy in the Master of Biomedical Sciences Program. She received her doctorate degree in Cellular and Structural Biology from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (UT) where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship.  Following receipt of her doctorate, Dr. Ibarra joined UIW in 2009 Her scholarly work and interests have led her to teach physiology and anatomical sciences to students interested in pursuing a career in the health professions. As a researcher, she conducted studies to explore the role of key inflammatory factors involved in chronic diseases such as heart failure, arthritis, and diabetes.  When Dr. Ibarra is not teaching, she inspires students to be curious about science with visits to local schools.  She performs hands-on science activities during Physiology Understanding Week, at the Science Fiesta, and the USA Science Engineering Festival in Washington, DC.  Dr. Ibarra’s passion for teaching and service translates into facilitating learning in the next generation scientists and physicians. Dr. Ibarra is a native of San Antonio and is married to Armando Ibarra.  Together they are the proud parents of Ryan, Brianna, and Christian Ibarra.