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5. Considering Alternative Perspectives

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Resources for extending the learning

WHAT IS IT?


In the process of forming opinions, clarifying values and taking an informed position, the learner considers different ways of looking at issues and reaching solutions.  This approach includes consideration of complimentary and competing strategies, experiences and world views.

WHY USE IT?

  • This approach helps expose the values we have to the scrutiny of critical thinking preparing students to make better decisions as informed citizens.
  • It creates a thinking challenge through which critical analysis skills and informed opinions can be developed.
  • Consideration of alternate perspectives promotes open-mindedness and a willingness to take relevant evidence and argument into account in forming or revising our own beliefs and values.
  • It presents more options for solving problems and addressing challenges.
  • Considering differing points of view develops “intellectual empathy”, the ability to respect and understand other points of view by making students more aware of their own values and biases.
  • It is an approach that promotes diversity creating a learning environment that is emotionally safe for students.
  • Concerns of bias and indoctrination in the learning process can be effectively addressed.

TIPS FOR TEACHERS:

  • Take the time to introduce students to multiple sides of issues.  Look to include literature and media resources that offer different perspectives.
  • Prompt students to gather, assess and compare information from different and conflicting sources.
  • Ask students to identify which voices are represented and which ones are missing from a text.
  • Look for opportunities to include drama, role-playing and simulation activities.
  • Include frequent opportunities for reflection.
  • After consideration of alternate perspectives, require students to clarify and support their own positions.
  • Where appropriate make use of the different perspectives represented in the classroom.