Speaker brings ‘Unselfie’ philosophy to Bonduel

Borba address school staff, community members

Contributed Photo Author and speaker Michele Borba discusses topics such as empathy, character and resilience with Bonduel School District teachers and staff Sept. 29.

The Bonduel School District hosted award-winning author and speaker Michele Borba for two sessions last month.

Borba addressed parents and community members on Sept. 28, and met with teachers and staff throughout the school district on Sept. 29.

Borba’s message focused on empathy, character and resilience. Her aim is to build compassionate school cultures by working with parents and educators.

“The presentation by Dr. Borba had a profound impact on me both professionally and personally,” Spanish teacher Bobbi Jo Martinson said. “It forced me to analyze my own actions, and the responsibilities I have as a mother and an educator.

“Understanding the feelings of others, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, is one of the most important life skills we can teach our children. Dr. Borba gave us some amazing ideas to promote empathy, and I look forward to implementing these ideas with my students and my own children.”

Teachers in the school district are reading Borba’s book, “Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World,” and will participate in a book study and use Borba’s ideas to create a culture of kindness in their schools.

The ideas will supplement the philosophy of “growth mindset” that many teachers are already implementing in their classrooms. In the growth mindset philosophy, students face the world with a positive attitude and work continually to solve problems with an attitude that they can always learn if they keep trying. Brains and talent are just a part of who they are, but hard work is what makes the students successful.

Borba’s message takes this attitude one step further by teaching students to care about others.

Studies have shown that students who are taught empathy, emotional literacy and a sense of community are more successful and resilient.
Research has also found that students are 40 percent less empathetic than they were 30 years ago, leading to a culture of bullying and self-absorption. Borba calls this the “Selfie Syndrome.”

“Dr. Borba opened our eyes to the needs of our current students and reinforced many things about our school culture,” Superintendent Patrick Rau stated. “Our school culture has evolved to teach grit, respect, and empathy, important habits to be successful at school and in the community.”

Borba is the author of 22 books and has been featured on the “Today Show,” “Dateline” and numerous other television programs. She has worked with parents and educators worldwide, speaking and doing research on five continents.