Exploring Multiple Perspectives

Students need to learn to understand and appreciate other perspectives in addition to developing their own
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About This Strategy

The Exploring Multiple Perspectives strategy is a resource containing the tools needed to help students build critical thinking skills through exploration and discussion. It is designed to support teachers to provide students with opportunities to develop their own perspectives as well as empathy for, and understanding and appreciation of, the perspectives of others. This strategy can be used throughout the school year as students continually explore points of view and expand their own thinking.

Implementation Steps

  1. Watch the brief Learning Visual Thinking Strategies video and read the Visual Thinking Strategies for Improved Comprehension article listed in the resources section below. Reflect on potential implications on your instructional planning.

  2. Review the 40 Intriguing Photos to Make Students Think slideshow and choose a photo for your students to analyze. Feel free to choose from other images. Consider extending the learning by implementing one of the  How to Teach With Picture Prompts lessons.   

  3. Use BetterLesson's Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CRTL) Lesson Plan Template linked in the resource section below to customize your lesson plans in a way that is responsive to the needs of your learners.

  4. Build on the perspective development and extend to debating skills by providing students with an opportunity to engage with one of the Strategic Education Research Partnership's (SERP) interdisciplinary units of study listed in the resources section below. Provide students with opportunities to further develop their perspectives by reflecting on the student opinion prompts listed in the resources section below.

  5. Debrief the lessons with your students by asking them questions such as, "What were some of your most powerful learning moments during this lesson?" and "What was most challenging about this lesson?"

Special Education Modification

Nedra Massenburg
Special Education Specialist

Using the Exploring Multiple Perspectives strategy to provide students with opportunities to develop their own perspectives as well as empathy for, and understanding, and appreciation of, the perspectives of others is an excellent way to support students with disabilities. Teaching exploring multiple perspectives as a tool for students requires significant executive functioning (task initiation, prioritization, working memory, etc.), emotional regulation, reading, and written expression skills.  In order to support students with disabilities in these areas, consider the following modifications:

Modifications:

  1. Use structured handouts that help students with task initiation as well as provide clear benchmarks (bolded words, bulleted lists) to assess task completion when exploring multiple perspectives in lessons.  

  2. Use visual timers and verbal reminders to help students with task initiation and task completion when exploring multiple perspectives in lessons.    

  3. Depending upon the number of students with disabilities present in a classroom, teachers should consider increasing the amount of time they spend on explicitly teaching norms for exploring multiple perspectives in lessons.  The first few rounds of exploring multiple perspectives in a classroom should be followed by explicit individual and whole group feedback on engagement and task completion. 

  4. If multiple teachers are present, careful thought should be put into co-teaching models and how they integrate into a differentiated lesson plan on exploring multiple perspectives. See the resources in the resource section below for more information.

  5. If multiple teachers are present in a setting, consider having one teacher work in a small group of students with intensive disabilities to provide them more modeling and more frequent feedback on their progress in exploring multiple perspectives in lessons.

EL Modification

Shannon Coyle
English Learner Specialist

This strategy provides an excellent opportunity for English learners to use visual depictions to analyze different perspectives and form their own opinions using evidence. 

English learners need to share their insights verbally and listen to those of their peers, and may need to write down their observations. When extending to debating skills, English learners may additionally need to read about other perspectives. In order to support English Learners consider the following modifications:

Modifications:

  1. Explicitly pre-teach relevant vocabulary. Ensure learners have the words they need to describe any given picture. Keep in mind, English learners sometimes have mastered specific tier 3 content vocabulary, but don’t have common tier 1 words that may be imperative in identifying parts of a photo. Consider simple word banks to use during class. Consider translating words into home languages for learners at lower proficiency level.

  2. Preview photos. Learners at lower levels of proficiency may benefit from the opportunity to analyze photos in advance and draft responses to share in class. Consider assigning a draft response as a homework assignment. See the "Visual Thinking Strategy Response Template" resource in the resource section below.

  3. Differentiate debate materials. Ensure English learners at all levels of proficiency use scaffolded materials and have a variety of ways to express learning e.g., graphic organizers, templates, discussion frames, sentence starters, graphics representations of writing, models, audio and video content or response, etc. See the "WIDA Can Do Descriptors" in the resource section below for more information.

Tech Tools

VersoLearning:

  • VersoLearning allows you to create interactive learning activities for your students, with resources to spark the conversation, and a unique anonymous platform for threaded organized discussions.

  • Verso supports this strategy by creating the conditions for teachers to expand the learning and discussion virtually. The anonymous format can be helpful in the sense that it can makes students feel more comfortable exchanging about challenging and controversial topics.

Padlet:

  • Padlet is a digital corkboard type tool that students can use to gather information or reflections. Teachers can easily access each students’ Padlet with a shared link.

  • Padlet supports this strategy by creating the conditions for teachers to expand the learning and discussion virtually. The anonymous format can be helpful in the sense that it can makes students feel more comfortable exchanging about challenging and controversial topics.

Related Resources

Explore the resources below to learn more about supporting students to discuss various perspectives, make informed arguments, and build their global competence. Also, consult the visual thinking strategies resource below that you can use to support students to explore multiple perspectives.

Social Justice Standards

Addressing Diversity Standards empowers educators to define diversity, explore the different ways to experience diversity and respectful ways to discuss similarities and differences. This resource provides opportunities to learn, go deeper, apply and reflect on learnings.