A major cause of conflict between people and groups is misunderstanding each other. There are many reasons for this. Each of us has our own unique upbringing and belief system. We may speak different languages and have different value systems. We may even have different ideas about what makes something true.
By understanding more about the person or group we are in conflict with, the more able we are to come to a peaceful agreement and avoid violence.
Objective: To help students identify a point of view.
Level: Upper elementary, middle school, and high school
Preparation: Download or memorize the Story of the Six Blind Men.
After reading or retelling the story, ask your students what the men could have done differently to discover what an elephant is really like. What did the story teach us? Discuss the importance of listening to different points of view other than your own. We don’t have to accept everything we hear, but we need to listen with an open mind.
Follow up Activity
Brainstorm a list of all the physical and social differences that shape our points of view. Post these so they can use them to fill in the sheet.
age religion family loyalty neighborhood/school
race politics attitudes strengths
gender peer group experiences disabilities
nationality social class emotional state personality
Make it personal: Choose a topic that your class has differing points of views about, - such as the type of music they would like played in the classroom during writing time, and make a chart showing where they stand. Extend the activity by discussing the meaning of compromise and consensus. How could they solve the music choice?
History: Brainstorm a list of historical personages who held opposing points of view on a selected issue.
Hey Little Ant In this story, a ant tries to convince a boy not to step on him.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs In this version of the fairy tale, the wolf tells his side of the story.