Cultivating Compassion Quotient

WHEN: December 23, 2017, 9 AM-3.30 PM
WHAT: On Dec 23rd, from 9AM-3.30 PM, we are holding a half-day retreat with various educators and facilitated by Nipun Mehta and other friends around the theme of "Cultivating Compassion Quotient."

Educational systems around the world are increasingly becoming outdated. The traditional "download" model of education not only leaves many children bored and uninterested, its overemphasis on tests and grades rewards passive memorization over innovation and creativity, and leaves fresh graduates completely unprepared for the modern workplace, where jobs change exponentially faster than our curriculum. Moreover, children are more plugged into devices and more disconnected than ever before, as bullying rates continue to sky rocket.

Many innovators are now suggesting a shift from content to relationships. In the world of Google, content is cheap, automated and freely available. Everything humans can do with content, machines can do better. Amid such a backdrop, a growing body of research suggests that the most valuable commodities for the future are teamwork, collaboration, and empathy. At a preschool with 68 students, two teachers started teaching kindness as a subject. Primary schools in California added gratitude on their report cards, while one Berlin school disregards grades for all children under 15. At High Tech High, they removed bells after class and textbooks -- just retaining group projects built around driving questions. At a top medical school in the US, they've done away with lectures altogether, focusing instead on active learning. And over 100 college admissions offices recently committed to making college admissions more human, in the recognition that what allows students to truly excel is collective well-being rather than competition.

With these new strands of possibility, we'd like to take it even one step further, and ask: How do we cultivate Compassion Quotient (CQ)? The virtue of having a field of relationships is that it makes space for transformation and allows our innate compassion to arise. Lot of today's dominant paradigm is optimized for intellectual quotient (IQ), and in recent years, we've seen a keener understanding of emotional quotient (EQ). But we'd like explore a third metric to broaden the conversation: CQ, which is one's capacity to act in service even when it may not offer any immediate or visible benefit. For instance, when Julio Diaz got robbed of his wallet and offered his jacket to the young robber, it is an expression of his compassion quotient.

This invites us into many nuanced -- and practical -- inquiries. At a personal level, can classrooms bring in mindfulness practices that sensitize us and reduce bullying? A recent survey found 86% of teachers and 70% of parents worry that youth are growing up in a hostile world. At an interpersonal and social level, how can we build empathy and greater tolerance? What is the scientific basis of compassion -- and can it be taught or does it bloom naturally? Does exposure to modern technology make these values more accessible or does it fragment our experience of life? At a more systemic level, how do we build the foundation for a secular ethic of compassion?

If these questions interest you, and you'd like to explore practical ways to amplify CQ in your educational community, we would love to invite you to a half day retreat in Bombay. During our time together, we will hear talks from thought leaders (including Shaheen Mistri, founder Teach for India; Nipun Mehta from ServiceSpace; Lobsang Phuntsok whose remarkable work creates a monastery; and Chaitnya-bhai who is a Gandhian villager who runs a small school in a village of Gujarat), hold brainstorming sessions with other educators, and hope to identify new practices that can collectively galvanize a new movement for greater compassion in our schools and communities.

To join, please RSVP below with your email and we'll get back to you with more details.      
WHERE:Worli, Mumbai
HOST:Smita Navare

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