I am thinking about the importance of perspective. Mine and others.
To truly understand how the world works, why decisions are made, what issues matter to individuals, when things do not go our way, we have to be willing to peer into the thinking of those who think differently than we do.
Sometimes — no, most of the time, this is hard.
It is especially hard for the sixteen year olds I teach. They wear their bias like badges, and they often silence those who disagree with them with blatant disregard. I fight against this every day, but last Friday we took a few steps forward. I want us to keep moving.
Objective: Students will formulate ideas while writing from a perspective other than their own: Who? What? Where? When? Why?; draw conclusions based on observations and interactions with peers.
Lesson: First, we’ll write. Students will take out their phones and take a photo of the person sitting across from them. They will then write for ten minutes, trying to convey that person’s point of view about their future. What do they want to do after high school? Where do they see themselves in five years?
We will then share our writing and discuss how difficult it is to know another’s thinking without ever having a conversation. We will tie this thinking into the conversations we had last week about stereotypes and making judgements.
Next, we will do the Crossing the Line activity as outlined here by Vanderbilt University. Of course, I will have to change some of the questions: Coke vs Pepsi? Pshaw. This is Texas! I will have to say Coke vs Dr. Pepper.
This activity will inspire discussions about our similarities and our differences, and the poem will allow for even more discussion, analysis, and critical thinking around a text.
Follow up: As we move into choosing topics for our Poetic Rhetoric unit, I will remind students of the importance of investigating all sides of a topic and the importance of considering alternate points of view as they compose their poems. I did not do this last year, and this will add a critical element to their arguments. Too many of the spoken word poems I’ve listened to seem like rants against some issue instead of including a shift or two that lead toward solutions.
In times like these, we definitely need solutions.
NOTE: Shana, Lisa, Jackie and I are presenting at #NCTE16 this week. If you will be with us in Atlanta, we’d love it if you attend our session on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 1:30 pm. Room B211 of the GA World Congress Center. I will start our presentation with more on the value of perspective and how it relates to Advancing All Students in Readers-Writers Workshop.