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SAPPA Annual Conference 2005 Professor Roslyn Arnold Dean and Head of School Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania Adelaide 26 th August, 2005 Empathic.

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Presentation on theme: "SAPPA Annual Conference 2005 Professor Roslyn Arnold Dean and Head of School Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania Adelaide 26 th August, 2005 Empathic."— Presentation transcript:

1 SAPPA Annual Conference 2005 Professor Roslyn Arnold Dean and Head of School Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania Adelaide 26 th August, 2005 Empathic Leadership: Search for Perfectibility and Cheerful Self Acceptance

2 Re-thinking Leadership This paper puts forward an argument for re-thinking the nature and function of leadership to include insights from empathic intelligence and brain-based research. The title is designed to suggest the complexity of leadership in contemporary education contexts.

3 Definition of Empathic Intelligence Empathic intelligence is a sustained system of psychic, cognitive, affective, social and ethical functioning derived from: An ability to mobilise a dynamic between thinking and feeling in self and others. An ability to differentiate self-states from others’ states (“who owns what”). Attunement to meaning and integration created through the dynamic between thinking and feeling. A superordinate intelligence involving inter/intra subjectivities, values enactment and integrity. A commitment to the well-being and development of self and others.

4 Empathic Leadership Empathy Enthusiasm Expertise Capacity to Engage Capacity to be ‘Intelligently Caring’

5 Empathy An act of thoughtful, heartfelt imagination. An ability to understand your own thoughts and feelings and, by analogy, apply your self understanding to the service of others, mindful that their thinking and feeling may not match your own. © Arnold, R. Empathic Intelligence: Teaching Learning Relating (UNSW Press 2005)

6 Enthusiasm En – theos = God/Spirit within A personal energy conveyed to others Motivated by belief and hope © Arnold, R. Empathic Intelligence: Teaching Learning Relating (UNSW Press 2005)

7 Expertise Mobilises imagination/perspective taking/hypothesising. Theoretically informed about pedagogy and leadership, and effective in practice. Can recognise both regressive and developmental states – spiralling development. Can see the universal, particular and affective characteristics of different cognitive symbolic systems (eg, art, design, language, mathematics, dance). Can model best practices and can tolerate own and others’ mistakes. © Arnold, R. Empathic Intelligence: Teaching Learning Relating (UNSW Press 2005)

8 Engagement Ability to attract and hold students’ attention through centred, purposeful interactions. Ability to channel leadership power/ authority/charisma for the benefit of the organisation. Communicates a vision beyond the here and now. © Arnold, R. Empathic Intelligence: Teaching Learning Relating (UNSW Press 2005)

9 Where does the Concept come from? Research & scholarship in the development of reason and emotion (Freud, Buber, Dewey, Polanyi, James, Rogers, Vygotsky, Piaget, Kohut, Stern, Gardner, Damasio). Charles Darwin – The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, (1872) – interest, surprise, joy, fear, disgust, shame, distress. A recent major influence: Antonio Damasio Descartes’ Error, (1994) The Feeling of What Happens, (2000) Looking for Spinoza (2003). Brain based research (Barnes, 2002; Carpenter, 2002; Davia, 2002; Geyer, 2002; Kagan, 2002; Siegal, 1999).

10 Emotion and Feeling Damasio argues, Contrary to traditional scientific opinion, feelings are just as cognitive as other percepts (1994, xvii)… (Emotion and feeling) provide the bridge between rational and non-rational processes, between cortical and subcortical structures (1994, p.128). The neurological evidence simply suggests that selective absence of emotion is a problem. Well-targeted and well-deployed emotion seems to be a support system without which the edifice of reason cannot operate properly…These (results) also made it possible to view emotion as an embodiment of the logic of survival (2000,p.42).

11 Consciousness From its most humble beginnings, consciousness is knowledge, knowledge consciousness, no less inter-connected than truth and beauty were for Keats. © Damasio, A. (2002) The Feeling of What Happens, p.26.

12 Definition of Consciousness & Conscience Consciousness and conscience are in fact distinguishable: consciousness pertains to the knowing of any object or action attributed to a self, while conscience pertains to the good or evil to be found in actions or objects. Consciousness and mind are also distinguishable: consciousness is the part of mind concerned with the apparent sense of self and knowing. © Damasio, A. (2002) The Feeling of What Happens, p.26.

13 Attachment Experiences Interpersonal experiences directly influence how we mentally construct reality. This shaping process occurs throughout life, but is most crucial during the early years of childhood. © Siegel, D.J., (1999) The Developing Mind, p.4

14 Communication of Emotion The communication of emotion may be the primary means by which these attachment experiences shape the developing mind. Research suggests that emotion serves as a central organising process within the brain. In this way, an individual’s abilities to organise emotions – a product, in part, of earlier attachment relationships – directly shapes the ability of the mind to integrate experience and to adapt to future stressors. © Siegel, D.J., (1999) The Developing Mind, p.4

15 Experience of Discovering Feelings Steven Rose, a practising scientist working at the forefront of medical research, describes his experience of discovering that his feelings interfered with his game of chess, a game which he previously believed involved ‘purely cognitive and logical skills’ (1993, p.36). From his scientific work and his reflections upon his own learning experiences, he argues that ‘cognition cannot be divorced from affect, try as one might’ (1993, p.36).

16 Link between Affect & Cognition Rose continues, The problems that it (the link between affect and cognition) illuminates are fundamental to my research strategy, just as much as their resolution. However, even today I find myself frequently in danger of forgetting that lesson, though it ought to be fundamental to a strategy for living (1993, p.36).

17 Complex view of Intelligence Howard Gardner, arguing for a more complex view of intelligence that commonly prevailed, remarked: the roots of a sense of self lie in the individual’s exploration of his (sic) own feelings and in his emerging ability to view his (sic) own feelings and experiences in terms of the interpretative schemes and symbol systems provided by the culture (1985, p.294).

18 Ability to generate Response Options Phineas Gage – David story. Damasio (1994) also illustrates the story of Elliot whose brain damage affected his normal ability to generate response options to social situation and to consider spontaneously the consequences of particular options. Damasio remarks that when treating Elliott, I began to think that the cold-bloodedness of Elliot’s reasoning prevented him from assigning different values to different options, and made his decision-making landscape hopelessly flat (1994, p.51).

19 Affect of Thinking Damasio says of Elliot’s case: I found myself suffering more when listening to Elliot’s stories than Elliot himself seemed to be suffering. I felt I suffered more than he did just by thinking of those stories (1994, p.4).

20 Willingness to Engage Damasio’s own philosophical and ethical commitment to both understanding and enhancing the lives of his patients, even those whose mental functioning is very minimal, reflects a professional functioning applicable widely in professional practice. His willingness to engage in a sensitive and feeling way to his patients provided a source of significant scientific insights.

21 ‘Intelligent Caring’ He embodies the capacity to create and to understand a dynamic between thinking and feeling, in a climate of care. The care is characterised as ‘intelligent caring’ for the well- being of the patient and for the realisation of the truth of the situation. Further, it suggests that the phenomena of each individual experience are created uniquely in each particular context. Hence the challenge, risk and excitement in such phenomenologically based practice.

22 Definition of ‘Intelligent Caring’ Hypothesises outcomes of decisions for individuals and groups. Sets boundaries. Scaffolds and mentors – identifies how to support while respecting dignity and autonomy. Creates a sense of community of shared experience: the gains exceed the effort. Embodied through reflection and practice. Respects self-caring. © Arnold, R. Empathic Intelligence: Teaching Learning Relating (UNSW Press 2005)

23 The Ineffable made Tangible We do embody the personal data from our lived experience in highly subjective and idiosyncratic ways. Hence the desirability of accessing our subjective data, through various symbolic and articulated methods, to scrutinise and evaluate it in the light of current realities, hopes and aspirations. © Arnold, R. (1991) Drama in the Round: the centrality of drama in learning. In Hughes, J. (ed) Drama in Education: the state of the art, Educational Drama Association NSW, Leichhardt Consciousness begins when brains acquire the power, the simple power I must add, of telling a story without words, the story that there is life ticking away in an organism, and that the states of the living organism, within body bounds, are continuously being altered by encounters with objects or events in its environment, or, for that matter, by thoughts and by internal adjustments of the life process. Consciousness emerges when this primordial story – the story of an object causally changing the state of the body – can be told using the universal nonverbal vocabulary of body signals. I suspect consciousness prevailed in evolution because knowing the feelings caused by emotions was so indispensable for the art of life, and because the art of life has been such a success in the history of nature. © Damasio, A. (2000) The Feeling of What Happens, Vintage, London, p. 30/31

24 Translating Theory into Practice Personal and Professional Qualities of Empathic Leadership: Attunement Mirroring Curiosity about Human Nature Sense of Humour

25 Mirroring








33 Enthusiasm


35 Attunement

36 Reading Life Stories








44 © ‘David Moore Photography’



47 © ‘Fairfaxphotos’


49 Necessary conditions for implementing an empathically intelligent learning organisation A critical mass of self-reflective, well-integrated individuals committed to growth/change. A supportive community of engaged, life-long learners/experiencers. Commitment to a collective “good”. Compelling vision (shared narrative/memory). Self and other – sustaining strategies (for individuals and the group). Realistic goals. Capacity to disengage/disable toxic influences. © Arnold, R. Empathic Intelligence: Teaching Learning Relating (UNSW Press 2005)

50 Engagement of Feeling & Reason It is within the intersubjective and intrasubjective experience of imagined worlds that feeling and reason can psychically engage, deepening one’s sense of self and consciousness of others.

51 Insight By understanding better the phenomenological qualities of intersubjective and intrasubjective experience, insight can inform inspiration, shaping the quality of our embedded experiences. Empathic leadership can deepen the quality of human engagements.

52 Contacts Professor Roslyn Arnold University of Tasmania Dean, Faculty of Education Ms Pamela Page University of Tasmania Executive Officer

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