Culitvating Compassion Quotient 2018
On Saturday, June 16th @10AM-4PM, ServiceSpace volunteers are hosting a retreat on igniting the spirit of transformation and compassion in education.

This retreat will be a deeper-dive into our experiments with values-based education. The theme is "Cultivating Compassion Quotient (CQ)" -- and around the Bay Area and beyond, so many of you have been doing just that! From Jane and Denise's recent Heart March with students, to Teresa, Imelda, Laxman's 21 days of Middle School Fearless Living, annual Kindness Days with Joan and seniors at SF Waldorf High, Ward's innovative global learning journeys (most recently in DC!), Melissa's 7th graders doing skits on multiple forms of capital, Jon Madian's seasoned insights (and poetry!), and so much more! We'll share stories and stillness, engage in activities that build community amongst each other, and reflect on subtle values embedded in moments of teaching and learning. With so much goodness brimming around the Bay, we can't wait to see what emergence holds in store!

The Bigger Picture: Traditional "download" systems of education around the globe are increasingly outdated. With emphasis on testing and grades rewarding passive memorization over innovation and creativity, fresh graduates find themselves unprepared for the modern workplace, where jobs change exponentially faster than our curriculum. Moreover, youth 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 Sacramento added gratitude on their report cards, while one Berlin school disregards grades for all children under 15. High Tech High removed textbooks and bells after class -- focusing instead on group projects built around driving questions. UVM's med school's doing away with lectures altogether, focusing instead on active learning. A Harvard initiative signed on 100+ college admissions offices committed to making college admissions more human, highlighting 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, do RSVP below, and you'll get more details as we get closer. This retreat will be hosted at Banyan Grove, which, like all ServiceSpace offerings, is a volunteer-run space offered entirely as a gift. A vegan lunch will be served.