How can we challenge perception and perspective?

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Reflection, Stimulus

On the weekend I attended a TEDx event at Macquarie University in Australia. As with most people who have attended a TED or TEDx event I left with a mixture of both inspiration and question. Amongst the talks I found themes and concepts that I will ponder for a long time and, hopefully, work out ways to bring them into my practises, my classroom and my thinking.

One idea I will explore for a while is how I can challenge people’s perception and perspectives. But what do I mean by that statement and how might I do it? To start, I want people to ask questions about what they do, how they do it and how they could do it differently. I also want people to contemplate how others would do the same thing and how through examining a concept from a different perspective could radically change the potential outcome. But how can I bring this to my teaching without wasting time, without messing or missing required curriculum content and with ensuring that valid and worthwhile learning experiences are achieved. Hmmm, the challenge!

As I sit here and brainstorm, I keep thinking back to the talk given by Tim Noonan (@TimNoonan, Vocal Branding Australia). To understand this it has to be recognised that Tim Noonan is visually impaired, that he spoke about the history and importance of vocal and auditory knowledge and that I kept thinking of how he, or any person, whether impaired or not, experience, develop and learn. Again, where is this going and how can I take it to my classroom? Amongst the first ideas that come to mind is ‘Black Box Design’. This could be done by:

  • Placing a variety of objects inside a closed box with cut arm holes. The students get given a brief and have to spend time identifying, by feel, the objects in the box, design how they think they will be assembled and then assembly them. This could occur over a few lessons, all without the students seeing inside the box until they have completed their design
  • Creating a brief that requires students to design a product that is functional, yet functions differently according to the direction in which it is used.
  • Getting the students to create a claymation animation sequence where they create the characters for their stop motion sequence in a black box environment by feel only.
  • Create a narrative and sound track for a silent piece of video/movie.

The above are just some of the first ideas I have had. Each could be mapped against different subject or curriculum areas. I would be happy to share any other ideas with those willing to contribute.

I feel that through getting others to be aware of the difference perception and perspective makes, I will be able to enrich the way my students see their world, and how they develop ideas and solve problems.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Do you have any ideas to share?

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