We come from all walks of life, meaning we have different types of jobs and are from different levels of society. No matter how similar we think we are to one another, there will be times that you see a difference in how we view or think about things. The way of thinking is called “perspective”; you have different perspectives than others because of your personality type and experiences.
While respecting one another’s perspectives, it is also important to know that we can mindfully change our perspectives. We face setbacks and challenges as we learn a new language; it is normal to feel discouraged at times of difficulty. Putting things in perspective can motivate us and make us feel more positive, which will help us move forward and progress on this journey.
Explain to students that the following pictures are examples of different perspectives. Ask students to explain the difference between what each person in the following pictures sees with a partner.
Ask students what the artist thinks about the person in each picture.
Explain to students that there is no right or wrong perspective; it depends on what we choose to focus on. Putting our attention on the right place can help us stay motivated and positive.
Explain to students that very often we only focus on the things we choose to focus on. Ask students to count how many times the ball is passed by players wearing white in the following video:
The Monkey Business Illusion
Ask students the following questions:
Explain to students that sometimes perspective stops us from noticing things. If we are too focused on one thing, we won’t see others. This doesn’t only apply to physical things but situations as well. For example, if you fail a test, you might struggle to appreciate other positive things such as a nice meal or lovely weather. Ask students to discuss the following question with a partner.
The things that we focus on may not always be good; they can sometimes be illusions. Illusions are often false (not real) ideas or beliefs; they are things that are or are likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses. Ask the students to look at the following pictures and share with the class what they see.
Ask students to share with the class what they hear in the following video:
Yanny or Laurel video: which name do you hear? – audio
Ask students to stare at the three dots in the middle and then look at a blank white surface.
Ask students the following question:
Explain to students that illusions can make us only see one thing; it can sometimes blind us from seeing the truth or looking at things from another perspective. These illusions can be distractions, not allowing us to look on the bright side.
Apart from illusions, another thing that makes us have a set perspective is our background. How we see things are mostly shaped by our educational backgrounds and upbringings. Display the following four words on the board and have each student decide which word doesn’t fit with the others. Ask a few students to share which they picked and why.
Put students in groups of 2-4 and give each group an odd-one-out sheet. Ask students to skim through the paper and discuss the unfamiliar words before they start. Show them pictures of the word if they do not know its meaning.
After the activity, ask students to answer the following questions:
Explain to students that even though our perspective is shaped by our backgrounds, we can mindfully switch our perspectives or gain an understanding of other perspectives by sharing opinions intellectually. Sometimes we may even be enlightened by others’ unique perspectives!
The following activity is a way how we can be enlightened by others’ perspectives.
Draw a single black dot on the whiteboard and ask the students what they see. Odds are that they will say a black dot or a black dot on a whiteboard. Explain that the black dot represents all the bad things in our life and the white background represents all the good things in our life.
If you were the one who only saw the black dot, wasn't it a wakening moment to realize that there is more white than black on the board?
For more on this exercise, refer to The Black Dot Exercise
It is good to know everyone’s perspectives, but sometimes we don’t get to know a story from everyone’s point of view. Have students watch the following video and show them the questions before that.
Ask students to answer the following questions with a partner.
Explain to students that sometimes we get sad or angry at someone, and we are so focused on our own perspective that we forget to see things from another perspective. Ask students to follow the instructions:
This meditation explains why perspective is so important. Watch this meditation video and follow along. Ask students to pay attention to the general idea of the video and think if those tips can help them as they are watching the video.
Headspace | Meditation | Changing Perspective
Invite students to meditate on their own at home. Ask them to write down their thoughts or changes of perspectives throughout the week and be ready to share that with the class.
Changing our perspectives can help us gain an understanding of others and feel more relieved from difficult situations. It can help us feel more positive and motivated to move forward!
Look for examples of perspective in the following video. Be prepared to share the following questions with the class tomorrow.
Change Your Perspective and Change Your Story | Toya Webb | TEDxDelthorneWomen
Share their responses with a partner.Change Your Perspective and Change Your Story | Toya Webb | TEDxDelthorneWomen
Discussion question: “What is behind your eyes holds more power than what is in front of them.” – Gary Zukav
Discussion question: “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” - Alphonse Carr