I feel like we are constantly experiencing perspective bending. We experience it at work, at home, and in the community. Understanding and possibly changing your thoughts about a topic happen quite frequently. I remember doing activities in high school where we had to pick a "side" or "idea" that we agreed with. We had to give our reasons for making that particular choice. We would then have to listen to the reasons why other students made their choice. There were definitely times where I ended up changing my mind and other times where I stuck to my choice and felt strongly about it.
I think it's great for students to learn perspective bending. This doesn't just have to do with changing your mind or decision but more importantly understanding where others are coming from. It's so important in life for students to learn that people have different opinions and that's ok.
I liked hearing about the 5th grade teacher who has groups create something and if they start arguing or disagreeing that she just sits back. I think we are all guilty of jumping in when things start to get uncomfortable or don't quite sound right. Giving the students the opportunity to hear each other out or bend their perspective will help them to understand their classmates and others in their life.
I think I may try to have students explain their choices more frequently and get more of a debate brewing so others can hear different opinions and choices and therefore have the opportunity to bend their perspective.
I love the idea of just sitting back and letting the students figure it out. I gave my students the task of getting a balloon across the room without crossing the middle (the girls were only allowed to stay on the edges of the room) and all they had was a straw, tape, and a piece of string. a few of the girl came up with an idea that I knew would not work. Another girl came up with a correct solution right away, but the girls with the first solution had to try theirs before they accepted the other girl's solution. They eventually worked it out and were very gracious to the girl. I think that we do need to sit back, but we can help facilitate as well. I refused to give them ideas or jump in while they were figuring it out, but I did make comments at the end like, "Wow, it looks like your idea worked. What a cool idea. Thank you for listening to her idea. Thank you for being patient and letting them try their solution first." We also talked about how some solutions worked and others didn't but there was more than way to solve the problem.
Ansley, I love your idea of having students discuss multiple solutions to to tackle a physical challenge in the classroom to practice the language of respectful collaboration. Once students become familiar with how to respectfully disagree or even agree to disagree, they can use that same language to debate issues in texts or classroom discussions.
Melissa, I like your point that perspective bending does not always mean students or teachers change their minds, but that they listen to one another and respect each other. Also, it's important to give people time. The perspective bending does not always have to happen during the lesson, or even during that school year. People need time to process information and ideas, and experience also helps people grow and gain perspective.
Sitting back and letting them hash something out would be so difficult for me but absolutely the right approach. I am the type to always try to keep the peace but I see how valuable such discussions are for growth and understanding between students (and adults). I would love the chance to put it into practice in a setting where I am consciously trying not to intervene.
1. I often experience perspective bending when talking with my wife about current events, more specifically those that are political in nature. We are generally on opposite ends of the political spectrum and at times she expresses viewpoints that are more carefully thought out and consequently strike deeper than typical talking points that we exposed to daily. When I hear her articulate these sentiments I'm able to consider my own perspective in relation to the new information and often experience a more complete consideration. Additionally, as I express my viewpoints, I'm able to bend her perspective, but also better understand my own thinking as we converse.
2. I think perspective bending is an essential component of learning and by establishing an open and trusting learning environment is important to me in a future classroom. The Switzerland Groups as described in this chapter was of particular interest to me. As a student, I have experienced something similar, where I've had to consider and defend an opposing viewpoint. I appreciate the fact that this particular idea goes a step further by encouraging students to question and offer evidence for both viewpoints being presented. Switzerland Groups is definitely something I can envision incorporating to encourage students to bend each other's perspectives.
My boyfriend and I will often have differing opinions on topics as well and I love having open discussions with him because we both grow so much from the conversation even if we simply learned more about a topic.
I really like that you mentioned the establishment of an open and trusting learning environment. I think that helping students grow their respect for one another is a huge part of school and perspective bending is a great skill to help our students learn how to interact with peers who may think differently than ourselves.
I liked that approach of the three groups that switched roles. It brings to mind the term "playing the devils advocate." I could also see utilizing that idea in an older classroom if that is where I eventually end up.
1. This may sound strange, but I've experienced perspective bending during my pursuit of a master's degree in language and literacy. Before starting my degree, I thought I knew a great deal about teaching reading and writing in all areas. However, as I took my first class, I realized that so much has changed since I stopped teaching; I needed to open my mind to that change. For example, I realized that there are so many research-based techniques I had never heard of before. I learned how to divide students into groups by individual needs. I learned how to help students comprehend content-area texts through study guides, information maps, and vocabulary studies. Also, I've learned how to assess students in an authentic way based on current research. As I've read research, my perspective has been bent by learing about disabilities, fluency, and other topics that I can't think of right now. The classes I've taken have really caused me to think about how I can change my practice and bend my perspective by accepting new ideas and challenging old ones.
2. I have been afraid to start discussions as I teach. I'm afraid that the students will get out of hand and start yelling at each other. However, after I read this chapter, I realized that discussion and disagreement are a good thing. I plan to encourage my students to bend their perspective by choosing topics and allowing the children to speak freely about their viewpoint after conducting research on that topic. Young children are able to disagree with one another in a civilized way as well. I plan to read them stories and informational text about particularly conterversial topics appropriate for their age and grade. I will allow them to take the information learned in the books and develop their own opinion and decide on points to discuss. Then, I will divide them into pairs and encourage them to listen to each other first before any discussion takes place. They need to know that disagreeing with one another is normal; they just need to know how to do it civily without insulting the other person. This will take a great deal of modeling and practice before they can do it on their own.
I think that it is awesome that you are seeing perspective bending in your master's program. I think that just like our students we, as educators, need to be pushed to understand other practices that might not align with our current ones. You never know when you are going to find our next best practice! I like that you want your students to do research on a topic rather than just pull from their own personal opinions. I feel like even if the discussion is only 10 minutes, students will learn so much about the topic compared to if they just sat and read one more article about the subject.
Hi, Shelly, I'm also returning to the classroom after several years of working at home in my music studio. I'm enjoying the new ideas and research, too. In addition, I find new perspectives on classroom management to be so helpful. Do you remember the advice that used to be given to new teachers? Don't smile until Christmas. I'm glad that warmth and positive language are more prevalent today.
I do remember professors telling us not to smile until Thanksgiving. Christmas seems like more of a stretch to me. I never followed that rule because I believe that a smile encourages students and shows them that we care. I'm usually more firm for the first few weeks, but that helps establish the rules and routines of the classroom. I continue to be firm after that, but as my perspective bends, I am able to let go a little bit (not too much!). Kids always bend my perspective. That happened to me last night a church. I was teaching a group of children a particular Bible story, and one boy brought up a totally crazy idea that ended up bending my perspective and looking at that point in a new way.
I agree about perspective bending in education. As educators, the field will constantly be changing. There will be new research, methods, curriculum, and approaches introduced. It is important that we stay open to change by listening to the new information, and bending our perspective on literacy instruction (and instruction in general) when there is enough evidence to support something new. There are still those teachers that are using methods from 25+ years ago because they were unable to bend their perspective on teaching. Educators must always be open to hearing other perspectives, and bending their own when appropriate. We must also share our perspectives because our view may allow for others to bend their perspectives.
1 – I am currently working in the special education department at my school and am constantly experiencing perspective bending. When a behavior occurs or a change to a student schedule happens I may not agree with it and voice my concern or questions. I love talking to the other teachers about why they decided to change supports and why I thought it should be a certain way. I think that is awesome to have these kinds of conversations because both parties grow tremendously at the end.
2 – I think that encouraging students to voice their opinions in the classroom setting is awesome. It is in a controlled environment where the teachers in the room can correct inappropriate behaviors or responses and offer alternative ways for students to voice their own opinions. I think this is easily done in older grades because we can have students write persuasive essays, chose sides on historical events and even create hypotheses for a science experiment and explain why. For younger students, I think that perspective bending takes on a more emotional form. They need to learn empathy of their peers and learn how to listen and be ok with someone not thinking the same way they do. Overall, I think that perspective bending is always something that our students will encounter through their lives so why not set them up for success by exposing them to it in a controlled environment.
I really appreciated your personal example of perspective-bending, particularly because of the important implications that can result from it. As you and other educators share your expertise the overall knowledge of the professional learning community is being expanded, and those who we hope to impact and support, our students, are the beneficiaries of these exchanges. Your desire to provide students a supportive environment in which they can learn empathy is refreshing, especially when considered in the context of today's society. Today we are more connected than ever but also disconnected on an emotionally connected level. Increasing advancements in technology will most likely increase this gap, making opportunities to support students in this manner even more important in the classroom.
Hello Maddy, I enjoyed reading your post. I can relate to your experience working in the special education department. Currently, I am a TSS for two clients and perspective bending occurs constantly when we have meetings to discuss a clients' progress or additional needs and services. Having regularly scheduled meetings with a team of school personnel, outside sources, and the clients' parents or guardians where we express our thoughts, concerns, and ideas are so beneficial to our clients. There are times when we go back and forth sharing various opinions and ideas arriving at an amicable agreement where we all feel that our clients' are receiving the best care and services. This would not be done if perspective bending was not present.
I always thought parent conferences were very interesting. There were those parents who just sat there and nodded, not contesting anything I said. Then, there were the parents who complained and aslo stood up for their children because I missed something. My perspective was bended because I was able to see the child by their parents' view, and it always changed the way I worked with their child. I also agree with you that younger children must learn to take turns when talking and learn to accept each other's viewpoint. It is so hard for them to think beyond themelves and accept what someone else says. They are just moving from the selfish stage where they only think about themselves, and it takes work to help them accept others.
I've had a few things in my life that I've had my perspective bent. The first major one was politically. I grew up with very conservative, Republican parents. As I came into my young adult life learning more about the parties and having discussions with friends I realized more and more that my beliefs and values aligned more with the liberal, Democrat side of the aisle (much to my father's dismay).
My other large bend was realizing that getting out of a bad marriage was not going to ruin my children. I stayed in a terribly unhappy place for too many years until, through reading many helpful books and also discussions with others who had themselves left a bad situation, I realized that what I was doing was possibly harming my children just as much. And even they realized when I was in my own space with just them that I was a completely better mom and person.
I do think having discussions about issues that matter in the world are so important. It's a bit trickier in the elementary levels. I know my daughter (high school) participated in the walkout this year to honor and support the Parkland victims. In doing so it created a lot of classroom discussions. Being able to bend a perspective through facts, reasons, beliefs, or the art of persuasion is a skill that should be fostered. I would like to push my students to explore their beliefs but I worry about parental backlash if their child is made to feel like they are wrong in some way. Especially with all of the misconceptions about many human rights issues in today's society, much of what our kids believe they get from their home environment. But at the same time, really studying an issue takes it to a more academic level where only factual information is collected. It still seems tricky but I would love to try on occasion to create conflict for the sake of learning.
I totally agree with you that it is important to have discussions with students on topics or issues that we are faced with. I also understand your concern about receiving parent backlash if students are made to believe something that the parents do not believe in or have a different opinion on. I agree with you that this is tricky and some topics or issues can be very controversial and cause conflict based on a family's beliefs and values. I think the best way to introduce topics is at a slow rate, and it may even be a good idea for the teacher to send out a note on a topic or issue that they know will be discussed so the parents or guardians have time to communicate their concerns with the teacher. Creating conflict for the sake of learning is essential but I do believe as educators we need to tread lightly on some topics.
Marilu and Alicia, I agree with your comments and have found that music and short film can be so helpful. On Mondays we have "Music Monday" or "Movie Monday." We watch a music video or a short film and discuss the theme, characters, lyrics, etc. Students then work individually or in pairs on a written or artistic response. Some that have worked well are: "Abraham, Martin, and John," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother."
Here's a link to a short film. Though the lesson plan is for English language development, there are many other ways this film can be used: http://film-english.com/2015/02/13/the-notebook/
I love this idea of using music and short film to start discussion. This can be a great way to start out teaching how to participate in civil arguments without using tough topics. I think eventually though that these hard topics need to be discussed.
I feel there are many times when I have experienced perspective bending. Often times, it is hard to see the “other side” of the argument, but when I listen to the other side, when it allows, I can bend my perspective. As the story of Rashad mentioned in the book, when there is sufficient evidence, it makes sense to change your perspective. Even though he stood by his own view for a while, when an authority figure and classmates sided one way, it made sense that he changed his opinion. There are times when I have still stuck by my own opinion when showed the other side, when I felt strongly that my perspective made the most sense. I cannot think of an exact moment when my perspective bended, but I know it has happened. Compromise and understanding can often appear similarly to perspective bending. When you think about the argument presented by the other side, it allows for you to understand their reasoning for feeling or thinking a certain way. And there are many times when I compromised and understood someone’s opinion/argument.
I think one way I plan to change perspectives is to incorporate the activity mentioned in the book with Rashad. When he was strongly convinced his perspective made the most sense, she had them “switch seats” to “switch sides.” The idea behind this was to show the students how they can or need to change their thinking in order to listen and come to understand or agree with the other side. I think when the time allows, to incorporate this. Also, I believe culture and background affect perspectives. Often times, the un-education can lead to a distinct perspective. Not that it is always wrong to agree with your culture but understanding other cultures may allow students to perspective blend. I also want to let my students have the chance to make mistakes, learn from that and appreciate the other students’ viewpoints. Mentioned by Jennifer in the book, it is important to let the children solve these issues amongst themselves. Providing assistance when necessary but stepping back to let children practice compromising and perspective bending. This can also come from allow students to “debate” and have friendly arguments. Showing students how to support their own opinions will also allow for them to see that their perspective is correct, evidence, or that the other side may be more appropriate, there’s more evidence or their side did not have enough to support their perspective.
You made some excellent points. I agree that a key consideration in terms of perspective-bending is simply allowing ourselves to listen to the other side. This is no small feat, especially when our own perspective is supported by strong emotions. It's also easier to bend our perspectives when the person we are conversing with communicates in a respectful way and doesn't completely dismiss our viewpoints. I also noted in my post that it's beneficial to teach students to respect another person's opinion and give them opportunities to practice civility when conversing.
It really is important to let others speak when discussing opinions. I was thinking about politics and debates when I started reading about perspective bending. So often, people don't listen to the other side, and when someone shares their views, it can often lead to yelling and not truly listening to the other person. I believe it is important to listen to each other's perspectives, and whether or not we agree, we must respect that. I agree that it is important to teach our students to respect others' perspectives and use civility. This will help them remain open minded to change and growth. In all areas of life.
1. I found Chapter 7 of Engaging Children to be a very interesting chapter. I believe we all experience perspective bending on an ongoing constant basis. We form opinions and beliefs based on how we were raised, what we hear through the media, social networking, our friends and family, and our religious affiliations. Our beliefs and opinions can change based on conversations and evidence. In fact, last weekend at a family dinner I experienced perspective bending. Due to the mumps outbreak we are currently experiencing, the topic of having children immunized came up at the dinner table. It was interesting to hear my family's feelings and opinions on this issue. We had a very in-depth discussion on the pros and cons of immunization. I never realized how divided my family was on the issue. Based on our family discussion and the sharing of different facts and opinion, I must admit my belief and opinion on having childdren immunized did change.
2. I feel it is extremely important that as educators we encourage students to bend each other perspectives. Each of us are unique in our own special way. We think and act differently. We may have been raised in a different culture and sharing that culture's beliefs, and values may assist in moving us forward as a diverse society. Bending others perspectives is one way that we learn and grow from others. Since I do not have my own classroom, I cannot share ways in which I currently encourage perspective bending. I do, however, feel the ideas that Keene provides in her text are excellent, and I plan to try to implement them in my classroom. In high school, I remember my tenth grade English teacher using the open forum concept for our class to openly discuss current events and issues in society we were experiencing at the time. I always enjoyed listening to the opinions of others. The discussions the open forum produced were always intersting and full of valuable information. I plan to definitely engage my class in open forums.
Hi Alicia! I agree that it is very important to encourage students to listen to each other and participate in perspective bending. I think that open forums are a great way to help our students practice doing this in a civil way. Disagreeing with each other is not a bad thing and I wish more of about this was taught in schools.
Thanks for sharing your recent personal situation with perspective bending. I think the dinner table is a great way for people to share their opinions and voice different perspectives. You are eating a meal with people you love, so (usually) it is done respectfully. This is a great example of how we could ask our students if they ever discussed controversial topics while sharing a meal with people they care about. We could challenge them to ask pertinent questions they have on certain topics the next time they share a meal with family or friends. The open forum concept is essentially the same idea of conversing over a family dinner and we could use this example to help children understand how to operate during an open forum.
I experienced a bending of perspective back in 1979-80, when my 12th grade piano teacher asked me if I had been born again. We chatted about it for a moment or so in between piano pieces and I left the lesson with much to ponder. I had heard those words before, but I didn't realize they were in the Bible and that Jesus had said, "You must be born again." I began to think about my spiritual life less in terms of what I should do, but more in terms of what Jesus had done for me. That set me on the path to go from being "in the world without hope and without God" to being able to give the reason for the hope that I have.
That was quite a process. Careful reading and compassionate conversations with friends, and even acquaintances, played a part in bending my perspective from trusting in good things I had done in hopes they would outweigh my mistakes and selfish actions, to trusting in Christ's atonement for my sins and his grace.
My piano teacher had modeled for me how to help students process ideas--not by saying, "This is what you must think and do," but by asking thought provoking questions.
Some takeaways from this chapter include:
1. The call to create a community built on love. I teach a group of international students from diverse cultures. They enjoy talking about their home countries, governments, religions, and history. They know that our classroom is a place where they don't have to pretend we're all the same. We can have different opinions and still respect one another and be friends.
The Open Forum. I appreciate the description of this type of discussion. I can see how I can more formally and consistently incorporate what has been informally developing in our classroom.
I would also like to do more with written conversations. I'll be checking out the book Keene recommends.
I also like the advice about generating questions. I love the opportunity to help students see that we do not study a topic and close our books, but we keep the discussion and learning ongoing.
I remember a time when I had my students read books about Abraham Lincoln around the time of his birthday. We read the books together and made a list of facts and ideas we learned as we read. As we worked together, they discovered they had more questions about the topic. Since we only had my computer to use for research, together we looked at some websites that eventually answered their questions. We also followed the same process with the topic of penguins. They used their questions and the facts we learned to write a paragraph about the topic. There weren't any perpective bending moments, but they did ask deep questions as we learned about each one. Questions are so important as students learn new information, and they can lead to perspective bending moments, especially when their opinons are not the same.
Asking the right questions can alter a conversation in amazing ways. Years ago I became a certified coach (think Life Coach) and that is the driving force behind the coaching process is asking the right questions to move the client forward. That same idea has a profound affect on students as well. I would guess it is even more important when they are discussing a difficult or controversial topic. I hope to also run my classroom as you do yours someday. I'm sure that you are an excellent teacher.
I was raised in a conservative Christian home in New England. It was made clear to me as a child that it was very wrong to have a child out of wedlock. I knew of cousins in my family who had become pregnant in high school, and since marriage for them at that young age seemed out of the question, I knew that they had been sent to visit relatives to “take care of things.” Needless to say, I grew up pro-choice, thinking that women should clearly be able to decide for themselves whether or not they were ready to bring a child into the world, and that in certain situations, abortion was probably the best choice to make.
Fast forward 40 years: I married and all my children were born within wedlock. I began attending a new church, and was interested to notice how passionate the members of our new church were about their pro-life/anti-abortion beliefs. It was the first time I had spent time with people holding these views, but I was comfortable quietly keeping my own ideas about abortion as a choice to myself. You can imagine how I felt when my son came to me one night to confess that he and his girlfriend were expecting a child. He explained that both he and she thought it would be terribly wrong to end the pregnancy, and that they planned to have the child, though they were not quite ready to get married. After I got over the shock myself, I realized that my parents were not going to take the news well. Sure enough, my mother’s quick response was that either the young couple needed to marry immediately, or end the pregnancy. I found myself explaining to her how my own perspective had changed, and my husband and I supported my son and his girlfriend through the pregnancy, birth, and their marriage the next year. The result of that unplanned pregnancy is a beautiful little girl with whom the entire family has fallen deeply in love. She is truly a blessing, Even my parents’ perspectives have been bent by living through this family experience.
We already have experienced some perspective bending in book club discussions in my class, though I like Keene’s idea of letting the kids run the discussion, rather than always having me lead them through the questions that I composed ahead of time. I also see the benefits of purposely choosing texts that include controversial subjects so as to liven up the discussions/debates between students. The TED Talks for kids sound intriguing. I would like to check them out soon. Lots of great ideas in this chapter!
What an interesting example, Linda! Through life experiences, you and your parents have experienced perspective bending. Thank you for sharing. I agree with you about letting the kids run the discussion. I am not sure about choosing controversial topics because some students' may not be able to handle it.
I believe that we all experience some sort of perspective bending on a regular basis. Most individuals have passionate beliefs which may be challenged regularly. The ability to stay true to your beliefs and at the same time have the ability to understand and respect others is a learned trait. In my opinion, I truly believe this is where our children need the most help and support to develop those behaviors.
Recently my daughter's class experienced typical 8th grade drama. She attends a very small Catholic school, these kiddos have been together since preschool, they love each other like siblings and on the flip side they argue like siblings as well. We had a class meeting parents in one room and kids in another (teacher was present all the time with the kids) Before we separated, the principal set the ground rules and explained that they all have strong personalities and opinions, they must find a way to accept each other's ideas and try to see things from their perspectives. According to the teacher, the meeting started rocky but finished on a positive note.
It is easy to push your way through life leading with tunnel vision, this is not ideal but I think for the most part, people are afraid of change and learning to see things from different perspectives takes courage to step out of the box and become vulnerable. I intend to lead by example in my classroom just as I have with my own kids. These are very good exercises for our students to participate in.
I really liked how you mentioned that learning to respect others beliefs and opinions is a learned trait. I think this is so important to remember, and to make sure we teach students explicitly how to listen and discuss topics and opinions respectfully.
A time where I experienced perspective bending was when I spent three weeks on a study abroad in the Netherlands. My host family shared their opinion on everything from politics, legal prostitution and intentional economical living. It was a very eye-opening experience for me. They shared their own personal opinion and I shared mine. I became more aware of the differences of how Americans versus the Dutch lived, and gleaned positives and negatives from both sides. I think what made this experience positive for me, was that there was no judgement coming from either side. We shared openly and took time to understand the other person’s perspective.
This way of sharing is so important when introducing perspective bending for my students. To help them understand that we can share opinions and beliefs in an open, caring and understanding way. To teach them that one way of thinking is not better than another but to encourage them to form their own opinions and to alter and modify their thinking by taking the opinions of others into consideration.
This is such an important skill to instill into our students. We can encourage them to be passionate about their beliefs but to not show judgement or disapproval for people who think differently than they do. Ways to foster perspective bending is to explicitly teach how to be effective listeners. We as teachers have an opportunity to teach students how body language and tone of voice can be very important when listening and sharing. I would also love to hold discussion sessions within my classroom. Students can share openly in small groups or with the whole class. In addition, depending on the age of my students, bringing real world events and perspectives into a classroom is a good way to start discussions and to practice listen to different perspectives.
I think it takes a lot of practice to not show judgment or disapproval of people who think differently than we do. I wonder where we draw the line though because clearly some opinions and ways of thinking are going to go against our strongest held beliefs/morals.
I loved this chapter! I think perspective bending is an important idea for everyone to learn about and be okay with experiencing, especially in this day and age when people can let their personal opinions lead to fights and arguments instead of discussions. I experience perspective blending almost daily. Most of it has to do with politics and the ideas that I have grown up with and the ideas and opinions that I have learned about as I've gotten older. Unfortunately, so many people are so adamant about their beliefs and perspectives being the only true belief and perspective that they would rather lose a friend than have a civil discussion about it. Thats why I think it's so important to have an classroom where students can openly share their opinion and perspective.
We need to teach our students that first of all, its okay to disagree with a friend. Like mentioned above, so many people dismiss friendships and relationships because of differing opinions. While everyone is allowed to have their own opinion and perspective, we need to teach students how to listen to each other and have an open discussion about instead of turning to words of hate and judgement. One example I can think of is when one my of preschoolers came up to me and told me that his friend said that a man can marry a man. At first, I was scared. I didn't want to say something that would cause me to get in trouble with parents. After a second of quick thought I decided to just focus on the fact that they had different opinions and that that was okay. I told them that even though they both had a different opinion, or feeling about this that it didn't mean they couldn't be friends still. Eventually, as these students get older their going to have the same conflict and hopefully be able to share with each other and have a civil disagreement. Most likely, perspective bending will occur.
I think to first experience perspective bending, we have to be willing to believe that it is a good thing. Often when people "change their mind" about an issue, they are called a flip flopper, or wishy-washy or weak. However, I think it is actually a sign of strength and maturity. One example that sticks in my mind was my feelings about GMOs. I was staunchly against them until a friend presented me with more information about GMOs and how they might be able to be a tool used to combat many environmental concerns and world hunger. I started doing my own research and found there are over 6,000 studies that show the benefit of GMOs.
For my own students, I have a lesson plan when teaching Walk Two Moons that uses art to illustrate the different perspectives. I use the vase/two faces, the duck and rabbit drawing, the young woman/the old lady and several other images. I have also used fractured fairy tales to show point of view. For US History, I have two separate posters-The American Perspective and the Japanese Perspective. The posters have stories, pictures, and links to videos. After answering a series of questions, they must decide for themselves whether or not we should have dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese. I get quite a mix of answers on both sides.
As a final comment, I do have to say that the boy asking about the pig's razor reminded me of myself. I sometimes get stuck in the details and my husband gets really irritated with me.
Describe a time where you experienced perspective bending.
The starkest moment came watching Phil Donahue (circa 1980), a woman called in with some medical information. Phil asked if she was a nurse. No, she replied, she was a doctor. I’d thought as Phil did and we were both schooled. I suspect we weren’t the only two. A few years ago, I watched a young swim instructor berate his male students because the only one who complied with his directive to get in the water was the girl in his class. The gist of it being...you’re going to let some girl beat you? I waited until the lesson was over then I shared with him my Phil Donahue story, told him that we’re all a product of the environment in which we grow up, and that while he might not understand my addressing this issue with him that day, I was confident he’d eventually understand. He’d insulted all of his students, even the girl who’d done as he asked.
What are some ways you have encouraged or are planning to encourage children to bend each other's perspectives?
Since I work in the library, I try to be friendly and open to what kids want to talk about. One of them is an avid Trump supporter, big flag and all. He likes InfoWars. I appreciate his interest in politics and the time he takes educating himself. I’ve given him a weeded history book, notable for the history and personalities it discusses. We also share website links to discussions. I try to listen to his and he to mine. I’ve always been a fan of the proverb about the blind men feeling an elephant - no one of them had the answer, but each understood a part, together they could understand the whole. Resources are not only books and databases, but most importantly, the people around us. Sometimes it’s something we read, hear on tv or in discussion that causes us to rethink things. And sometimes, as in Keene’s example, it takes a bit of time for information to sink in, take root, and inspire a change...but as she clearly demonstrated, her discussion with the student was patient and respectful. I couldn’t help but feel, once again, that some role playing might help me develop more skills for such discussions.
I, like the author, have family members who like to discuss politics and current events at the dinner table. I have experienced perspective bending many times at meals with my family members. Listening to someone's point of view, experiences, and research is crucial. It can help you to decide if your point of view is strong or weak. It can help bring a different perspective to the topic at hand. Whether or not it changes your perspective does not really matter. Once you experience perspective bending your point of view is stronger.
I am planning to encourage students to bend each other's perspectives by doing research first, like the teacher in Chapter 7 suggested. I would have the students make presentations, and then pair up and talk about their point of views.
1. The first thing that came to mind when thinking about times I've experienced perspective bending is in my political conversations with my husband. On some issues we agree with one another and on others we disagree. I've experienced many times though that moment where you don't necessarily have to agree with one another but you respect each others viewpoints. Sometimes we may even sway each other to think differently about a topic.
2. In third grade I teach a persuasive writing unit. Students pick a topic they feel passionate about and write an essay trying to convince their classmates to act or think a certain way. At the end of the unit, students present their ideas and the class decides if they have been convinced or not. Often they share why they agree or disagree. After reading this chapter, I'd also like to add a part to this where students discuss if their mind has been changed and what in particular made them change their mind.
I agree that a lot of perspective bending can happen when politics comes up in a conversation. My opinion on various political issues changed drastically over the years, so much so that I have gone from voting primarily with one political party to another.
I also teach third grade. Your writing activity reminds me of the Scholastic News. Every once in a while, they will have a piece in the magazine where two children will debate a certain issue/question. (Ex: Should kids have cell phones? One kid will write a pro paragraph and another will write a con paragraph.) I think this could be a great way to encourage perspective bending in my own classroom.
I have experienced perspective bending through my many trips to the Broadway theaters. Musical theater is more than just fluff, and there are certain shows like Rent, Hair, American Idiot, In The Heights, and Dear Evan Hansen that have shaped me into the person I am today. They challenged my beliefs, opened my mind to different ways of life, and ultimately altered, solidified, and/or reshaped my opinions on various world issues, social problems, inequalities, and injustices.
I think a great way to encourage perspective bending in the classroom is through book chats or book clubs. Getting children to express their opinions in a respectful manner while also listening to others' opinions can be a great exercise in communication, respectful discourse, and persuasion. The discourse could happen around short articles, as well. I think the current event articles found in Newsela and Scholastic News might be the perfect starting point for having these discussions.