Habit of Mind 3

Habit of Mind #3: To be perspective takers, seeking out, valuing and incorporating different viewpoints and positions about learners, learning, teaching.


            Like I mentioned in my last narrative on the Habit of Mind #2, this is a very important one to me.  Since traveling to Ireland I have really gained a new look on how I approach teaching.  I learned in Ireland a very valuable lesson of looking at certain events from a different perspective.  This makes sense because I had never any other perspective than an “American” view point.  What I learned in Ireland was to try not to look at something in a two-dimensional way but rather in a three-dimensional way.  Probably the two biggest influences on me learning to look at different viewpoints were my Irish buddy Dave O’Driscoll and a book I read in one of my courses over seas Times Arrow by Martin Amis.  In one of my journal’s I talk about how this book really forces you to look at a very important and controversial event, the Holocaust from a Nazi perspective.  What I have done to show this change in my teaching is that I have adapted my pedagogy so that looking at events from different perspectives is a priority of mine when teaching.  I think that students can get so much more out of a lesson if they are challenged to think differently than they are used to. 

In my unit on Frankenstein I wanted them to write a critical essay for the final assessment.  We had talked all marking period about the different view points within the book and with stem cell research. Now with the essay I gave them a quote which talked about the idea of knowledge being dangerous, a major theme in the novel. What I wanted them to do was pick a side of the argument and write about it using different examples from the book and the stem cell research article. The catch was that somewhere in the essay they had to incorporate the other side to their argument.  The idea behind this was that they were looking at the other viewpoints another student or person might have. This was not only for them but also for me as well. I had to be able to teach both sides of the argument and be willing to support the other side when someone in a class discussion was challenging what I was saying.  I often played devil’s advocate with the class discussion just so they were seeing the other side to the story.

            I have many plans that are in my head about the future of my classroom and incorporating this habit of mind.  For me, I want to try and experience as many cultures as possible because it was the experience in Ireland that opened my eyes to different perspective.  I have a strong plan to continue to travel the world and my hope is that I can soak up some much needed knowledge in the brief time I am in a certain country.  I also think reading is very important for this habit of mind.  As an English teacher I know that by reading a book it challenges you to look at a different stance of another person.  By continuing to read fiction and non-fiction books it will open my mind and eyes to new experiences I would never get otherwise. Frankenstein Essay Title artifact

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