The widespread failure to recognize the insights that can be found in all different perspectives may itself constitute a disability. -Ellen Langer
Several weeks ago, I introduced to you the fact that Opal School teachers had collaboratively revised the Goals and Expectations for Opal School students. You can click through to that first post here.
Here is the second revised goal:
Develop an understanding and curiosity about multiple points of view. Have value and empathy for experiences and perspectives different from one’s own.
Have a listen to this 11 minute TED talk about the connections between play and perspective taking, arguably the most important skill our children can learn in order to be citizens in a healthy and productive democracy:
Through play with ideas, words, materials, and each other, children learn to listen and value the perspectives of others. The classroom structures of story workshop, literacy studio, explore, math workshop, reading workshop, science talks, class and community meetings, and others are all intended, ultimately, to support children to develop appreciation and empathy for experiences and ideas that are different from their own.
Children need ample opportunity to learn to imagine what is going on in the minds of others. This social imagination is what makes relationships work and not work. "The more developed a person's social imagination, the higher their level of social cooperation, the larger their social network, and the more positively they are viewed by their peers." (Peter Johnston in Opening MInds: Using Language to Change Lives, Stenhouse, 2012)
If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.
Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird