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Rationale


The purpose of this lesson is to help students recognize that many points of view may exist on any given topic. While individuals often engage in trying to convince others to take their position, there is also value in hearing and understanding multiple perspectives particularly when making decisions. This lesson also asks students to consider how they form their opinions and perspectives.

Objectives
  • Students will share their point of view on a variety of subjects.

  • Students will recognize that diverse perspectives exist on any topic.

  • Students will examine the source(s) of their beliefs and opinions.

Requirements


    Materials: Four pieces of construction paper, chart paper and markers

    Time: One or two class periods

Techniques and Skills


Large and small group discussion, decision-making, brainstorming, writing skills

Key Words
point of view, perspective, diverse, multicultural

Procedures

1. Review the ground rules that were developed by the class in Unit 1, Lesson 1.

2. Explain that many of the topics to be addressed in future lessons will raise conflicts that cannot be easily resolved and people will disagree about how such topics should be addressed. In this lesson, students will be presented with a series of statements and asked to share with others their personal perspective on each. At the same time, students are asked to consider the range of responses to these statements as demonstrated by the class.

3. On each of the four pieces of construction paper write the following words or phrases: STRONGLY AGREE, AGREE, DISAGREE, STRONGLY DISAGREE. Post the papers around the room, one in each corner.

4. Have all students stand up. Explain that you will read 10 statements on a variety of topics. After each statement is read, students will walk to the corner of the room that best expresses how they personally feel about the statement. If there is a statement for which a student has no opinion or is unsure, he or she should stand in the middle of the room. Students should move to the various areas of the room in complete silence. Encourage students to observe how they are in agreement with some of their classmates on some topics but not on others and how sometimes they are in the majority and sometimes the minority.

5. Ask students if they understand the directions before proceeding.

6. Read each statement below allowing ample time for students to go to the corner of the room that best expresses their point of view.

[NOTE: If students express that they are unsure about a topic, ask them what they need to make a decision. Students who have moved to one of the four corners can share their perspectives with the undecided students who may then decide to take a position. Students who are undecided should also share why they were unable to move to a corner of the room perhaps raising issues for someone who was previously "decided."]

STATEMENTS

  1. Curfews for those under age 18 will help reduce crime.

  2. Individual schools or school districts should determine policy on school prayer.

  3. Immigration to the United States should be restricted.

  4. The United States should discontinue relations with countries that engage in human rights violations.

  5. Stricter gun control laws will help reduce crime.

  6. Our current welfare system encourages laziness.

  7. A multicultural education curriculum should be in place in every school.

  8. All schools should have a school uniform policy.

  9. Schools should do away with months like Women's History Month or African-American/Black History Month.

  10. The media in this country deliver fair and accurate accounts of event.

7. Have students return to their seats. Ask them to share their thoughts and reactions using the following suggested questions:

  • Which statement was the most difficult for you? Why?

  • Which statement was the easiest for you? Why?

  • If there was a time when you were alone in your opinion, how did you feel?

  • Did you ever decide to change your opinion when you saw you did not agree with most of the class?

  • How did it feel when many of your classmates had the same response as yours?

  • Was anyone in complete agreement with a classmate on every statement? Why is this unlikely to happen?

  • What are some ways that people respond to one another when points of view differ?

  • Do we ever change our views? What kinds of things influence us to change our perspective?

8. On a piece of chart paper write the term POINT OF VIEW. Have students brainstorm a list of things that influence their thinking or point of view. (Answers might include things like family, religious beliefs, media, education, peers or political affiliation.) Encourage students to create as comprehensive a list as possible.

Modified Procedure:
Instead of sharing in small groups, have students write an essay on who or what most influences their thinking on particular topics or assign this essay as a follow-up activity to this lesson.

9. Divide students into groups of four or five. From the list that was generated, have students share with one another what has and continues to most influence their thinking. Allow time for all students to share.

[NOTE: The ideas in this lesson continue to be revisited throughout this Study Guide. Whenever possible, reinforce the objectives by having students consider, research, and discuss the many points of view surrounding historical or current events that are being studied.]

Parts of this lesson adapted from The Prejudice Book, Copyright 1994, Anti-Defamation League.

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