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Abundance of Perspectives

You know the saying, “two heads are better than one!” There is a lot of truth to this even if you are the type of person who prefers to work alone. I know for myself, I often prefer to work alone but I see the benefit of collaborating with others. We benefit so much from learning from others and hearing multiple perspectives and ideas. We often overlook the value of multiple perspectives and collaboration.

I know for myself, I am super creative and often get asked to come up with school wide projects and ideas that we can do with the entire school. Which I love to do. At first, I need time to just sit with my ideas on my own. However, once an idea pops into my head and I get a vision of how it could possibly all come together that is when I find it most valuable to collaborate with others and hear their perspectives and views. Almost always, once we begin to collaborate my original idea shifts and becomes better because of the suggestions my co-workers make. I think it is really important to listen to others and brainstorm ideas together, which might not always be in a formal setting like a meeting. My most productive brainstorming happens in casual conversations at lunch or passing in the hallway.

We have an abundance of opportunities to hear multiple perspectives in all areas. This is really important for building critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills and opportunities for multiple voices are essential to a functioning society. It is really important to truly listen to views that are different from your own because then you can have a deeper understanding and empathy for others.

This year in my classroom my team partner and I pretended we were cyborgs from the future and we were going to build a futuristic city over a wetland (we were studying wetlands at the time). The students at first thought this would be awesome until we told them that they had to research an animal from the wetland and debate us as to what would be important to put in this wetland area from the animals perspective. the cyborgs viewed the wetland as a wasteland, but how might the animals view the wetland? Historically, wetlands were viewed as wastelands, until people started covering them up and building on them. When flooding happened and water was increasingly polluted humans began to research the wetlands and understand their important role in the ecosystem.

By the end of the project, the students no longer felt that building a futuristic city over the wetland would be a good idea. They came up with different ideas as to what could be a compromise to meet the needs of all parties involved. Even this hypothetical scenario we created in our classroom had a huge impact on students ability to see the value in multiple perspectives.

So this week my challenge to you is to look at one area of your life that has the potential to have multiple perspectives. Take some time to truly listen to those multiple perspectives and see if your view has shifted. Take note of if collaborating or listening to others caused your original plan to get amplified and made better simply by spending some time listening to others perspectives.

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