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Lesson Plan

Appreciating Diverse Viewpoints: A Lesson in Perspective

Lesson Plan Type Standard
Estimated Time 1-2 days
Grade 9th-12th Grades
Author Stacy Thomas-McGee

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Objective: Students will analyze abstract art to deduce what it means to "respect" diverse viewpoints. This lesson is a great first-day or opening week activity for a debate class or any communications course involving controversial issues. It also can be adapted to introduce units on persuasion, current events, value propositions in Lincoln-Douglas (how are values derived), conflict resolution, leadership, being an ethical communicator, or hearing vs. listening (mindsets, biases, barriers, and internal “noise” or interference). Primary material is M. C. Escher's picture "Relativity." To use this art as a metaphor: Students will infer that individuals each have their own "staircase" that might seem like objective truth to them even while appearing upside down from another person’s point of gravity. So, the essential questions raised: How can we develop productive interpersonal communication when differing opinions collide? And, what builds our "staircase" or contributes to our worldview? This lesson is intended to be a community-building exercise that sets the tone for appropriate discussions/behavioral expectations in a verbal classroom through an activity that piques student curiosity in speech/debate content while combining fun interaction with intellectual rigor. Students will authentically derive for themselves the lesson that we don't just "argue" in debate class but learn to appreciate multiple, opposing sides of an issue. This lesson also demonstrates that perception is different than fact.