Understanding the beliefs and values of different cultures may promote global -mindedness.
The words "beliefs" and "values" are not really that easy to define. A quick glance at different definitions of these words does not give you a simple answer.
What strategy could best address this dilemma? How can the grade 6s begin to appreciate their beliefs and values?
So we started with the word "culture" And their responses were, as I anticipated, pretty basic - Family, Flags, Food and Festivals.
I allowed them to place their post-its wherever they pleased.
Later, after everyone got a chance to express themselves, I moved most of them up to the tip of the iceberg, explaining that they were the outward expressions of culture.
...and asked them to think of other less obvious words related to culture.
And so we dove deeper ...
It was great to see them coming up with words such as "respect", "life style' and 'animals!"
I picked on the word "animals" and the next day, posted pictures of animals around the room:
The holy cow, the whale in the aquarium, the guide dog, roasted turkey...The intention was to give students a chance to tap into their beliefs and values when they thought of animals and how we use or abuse them.
After a great discussion one evening with our Librarian Ms Lea, we wondered how the students would react to the following statement:
Not only could we address the cultural beliefs and values of different groups of people behind this statement, we could also think about how we felt about it and we could introduce the language of debate:
I respectfully agree or disagree...however, I would like to add...
Ms Lea pointed out that students could get the opportunity to change their minds about an idea; in other words, understand that beliefs and values can change!
On the way towards this understanding, our class faced a rather big hurdle.
We surfaced for a bit...
The quality of their responses towards the pictures did not reflect deep thinking. How could the students realise this without the teacher bringing it to their notice?
This activity was a great way to see how we thought about things.
We have just began the year, and I hope with more probing activities, we can help encourage the students to think more deeply about issues and hopefully become great global citizens of this world.