Students will see how personal tastes and experiences - in addition to culture - influence our perspectives.

Overview | Materials | Procedures | Extensions

• Subject(s): Cross-Cultural Understanding
• Grade Level(s): 3 - 5
• Related Publication: Looking at Ourselves and Others
• Duration: 30 minutes
Students will see how personal tastes and experiences - in addition to culture - influence our perspectives.

And now the opposition will speak
Background Information
This Peace Corps World Wise Schools activity is designed to illustrate the variety of perspectives and opinions represented in the class.
It will help students understand that perceptions are influenced by personal experience and taste as well as cultural background.
This is a good opportunity to help students get to know each other better by recognizing the variety of cultures and talents represented in their community.
Students will recognize that their classmates hold a variety of opinions.
Students will identify factors that influence perspective and opinion.

• Pencils and paper

Procedures Tell your students that you would like them to explore their opinions about a topic of current interest.
  1. Ask the students to choose a category such as school, music, food, television, or a theme currently being discussed in a curricular area.
  2. Present the students with a list of opposites describing a variety of opinions and perspectives such as rich/poor, beautiful/ugly, easy/difficult, delicious/disgusting, boring/interesting.
  3. Ask each student to write down the name of an activity, a thing, or an idea (not a person!) that represents each concept. Encourage students to respond according to their honest feelings, not according to what is cool or funny.
  4. Once students have completed their individual lists, have students share some of their responses. As a group, look at the variety of perceptions represented by the students' lists.
Debriefing Use the following questions to help students reflect on the ways we form opinions.
  1. How do you feel when someone disagrees with your opinion about something?
  2. How many different examples of things that are delicious did we collect? Is there any one thing that we could all agree is delicious?
  3. Why do you think there are so many differences of opinion about these ideas? What did you learn about our class when we compared our opinions?
  4. What might happen if we asked every student in our school to do this activity? What would our community be like if everyone had the same preferences and opinions?
  5. What are some ways differences can be used to make a community work better?
  1. Use this activity as a starting point for building a class service directory similar to those found in community newspapers and telephone books.
    Students can work together to develop a questionnaire that probes individual student interests and talents.
    Then have students design advertising pages for each other based on responses to the questionnaire.
    (For example: "Need help with math? Contact Tonya Johnson, our class expert." "Ron Nguyen is a terrific artist! Let him know if you're a writer with a story to illustrate." "Maria Rodriguez has an amazing collection of baseball cards. Call her when you're ready to trade.")
    Be sure to help those students who may have trouble identifying special skills or interests and encourage students with complementary talents to develop group advertisements.
  2. Invite a returned Peace Corps Volunteer or someone from your community who has spent time in other countries to talk to your class about how perceptions of rich/poor, beautiful/ugly, delicious/disgusting, etc. vary from culture to culture.
    Contact World Wise Schools for a list of returned Volunteers in your area.
  3. If you are corresponding with a current Peace Corps Volunteer, ask for comments on how his or her perspective on concepts such as good/bad, rich/poor, or easy/difficult has changed in the host country.

    Explore Other World Wise worksheets:
  1. The Blind Men and The Elephant
  2. Students will examine the importance of perspective in how people perceive things.
  3. Generalizations: How Accurate Are They?
  4. Students will examine how generalizations can be hurtful and unfair.
  5. Is That a Fact? - Lesson Plan
  6. Understanding the difference between fact and opinion is critical to our ability to examine our reactions to events and people. Stereotypes and prejudices are often based on opinions that are perceived as facts.
  7. (2)Is That a Fact? - Lesson Plan
  8. Brief Encounters (Looking at Ourselves and Others)
  9. Students experience what it is like to confront and deal with a culture highly different from their own
  10. First Impressions
    Students will experience the risks of making assumptions from first impressions.

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