After sharing your answers, please read your group members’ responses. Imagine you being in their position, what would you do? Make sure you address each group member’s ethical and professional issue. In your response, please mention the name of the person you are responding to.
For this perspective-taking activity to be meaningful, we will go through the five levels of perspective-taking, with each week having a different emphasis for you to address your group member’s ethical challenges.
Please start your response with the “if-then” frame (e.g., If I was you, then I would)
Levels of perspective-taking to include: Hoffman’s Stages of Empathy Development Selman’s Stages of Perspective Taking (Role Taking)
Global empathy — In the first year, children may match
the emotions they witness (e.g., by crying when another
infant is crying, but the emotion is involuntary and
Undifferentiated or Egocentric (age 3-6): Children
recognize that the self and others can have different
thoughts and feelings, but they frequently confuse the
Egocentric empathy — From the second year on children
actively offer help. The kind of help offered is what they
themselves would find comforting and is in that sense
egocentric; nevertheless, the child at least responds with
appropriate empathic efforts.
Subjective or Social-informational (ages 5-9): Children
understand that different perspectives may result
because people have access to different information.
Nevertheless, despite the realization that the
perspectives can differ (based on say the different
information that each may have) the preponderant
tendency is to consider one’s own perspective as valid.
The child may believe that the sole reason for different
perspectives is because of differences in information.
Empathy for another’s feelings — In the third year, with
the emergence of role-taking skills, children become
aware that other people’s feelings can differ from their
own. Their responses to distress may thus become more
appropriate to the other person’s needs.
Self-reflective (ages 7-12): Children can “step in another
person’s shoes” and view their own thoughts, feelings,
and behavior from the other person’s perspective. They
also recognize that others can do the same. This not just
a logical realization that someone can have a different
perspective but also a realization that either perspective
can be equally valid given the other person’s unique
situation. Thus, one thinks and feels like the other person
and can both suffer and enjoy the outcomes of situations
as they unfold from the other person’s perspective.
What is lacking, however, is for the child to be able to
consider both perspectives simultaneously.
Empathy for another’s life condition — By late childhood
or early adolescence children become aware that others’
feelings may not just be due to the immediate situation
but stem from their more lasting life situation. Empathy
may also be found with respect to entire groups of
people (the poor, the oppressed, etc.) and thus transcend
Third-party or ‘Bystander’ (ages 10-15): Children can
step outside a two-person situation and imagine how the
self and other are viewed from the point of view of a
third, impartial party. This includes the ability to keep
multiple perspectives in mind at the same time. One does
not see from this perspective and then from the other –
one looks at the entire big picture or view and
understands that different people are having different
Societal (Ages 14-adult): Individuals understand that
third-party perspective-taking can be influenced by one
or more systems of larger societal values. One realizes
that one can have different neutral perspectives on a
situation, each of which would be colored by the values
that are dear to the social and cultural context in which
the situation occurs and which dictate what a neutral
perspective is. One may realize that some values are
desirable and others are not and that the perspective
that is informed by desirable values is preferable.
One ethical issue we are all dealing with right now is about whether or not to get a Covid vaccine. Everything related to Covid is a hot topic these days, so there are many differing opinions about the vaccine. Some may not consider this an ethical issue, but to me, it is because getting the vaccine can mean a change in my world and is a consideration to others. I have family members, though, who do not believe in vaccinations. I have decided to get the vaccine and do my best to explain my reasoning for doing so, while still trying to understand their perspectives and not be judgmental.
A professional issue I have encountered recently is support staff falling asleep during instructional time with the students. This is an issue I have never encountered before while working in a school setting and I have been shocked. I have brought this issue to the attention of our supervisor whose response has been to let him know when it happens because he can’t do anything about it unless he sees it firsthand. In the classroom I have asked this adult if they are okay, following an instance of them falling asleep, so that they know I see them sleeping. Outside of this I am not totally sure the correct response because I don’t want to call them out in front of the students and make it a big deal, and I am not their boss/in a position to reprimand them in any way.