Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Importance of Considering Perspective

Happy Independence Day! (To my fellow Americans, anyway...)

Actually, that's the point of this brief post...

I've been thinking a bit lately about the importance of perspective, about the way our own experiences shape the way we perceive the world, understand things, and interact with the "other."

My Twitterfriend, Doug Robertson (@TheWeirdTeacher - if you're an educator, you definitely should hang out with him online) shared this one on his Instagram earlier today:

How's that for perspective?

And...perhaps more importantly...how do you perceive this meme? Encouraging? Subversive? Humorous? Scandalous? Ridiculous?

I think that the way you respond to a meme like this is largely shaped by the perspective you embody, which is, in turn, shaped by your beliefs, experiences, and personal history. (Personally, I found this hilarious...but I have no expectations that you necessarily agree with me about this.)

But let's push this just a bit further, shall we? How does your perspective shape the way you make your way through the world? (Because I'm pretty sure it does!) How do you approach situations or events that make you uncomfortable? How about things that make you grin, or grimace, or guffaw, or growl? I suggest that there is something about your personal perspective that prompts your response. And there's more: I think that your perspective also shapes the way you make decisions, and plan, and move forward into the future. For example, I am an educator...and I'm convinced that my perspective on my work as a calling impacts all sorts of decisions that I make.

How does your personal perspective shape the way you respond and react, teachers? How do you respond to a pushy parent? To a new initiative? To an administrator's request? To a student's need? Or, how does your perspective shape your teaching practice? We might like to imagine that our curriculum is somehow neutral, but I don't believe this is true. There is always a perspective--maybe even an agenda?--at play. Every textbook you use, every curriculum resource you choose, every instructional decision you make is embodying a perspective. How does your perspective impact your school, your colleagues, your students? How does your perspective influence your relationships? How does your perspective affect how you are as a teacher?

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