- A way of regarding situations, facts and judging their relative importance
- The proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity
- A view over some distance in space or time
Why do we need to think about perspectives?
Our views of the world are influenced and nurtured from the moment we are born by many different influences – other people; events and experiences; and media (books; TV). By the time they first go to school, children have developed ‘uncritically evaluated views’ about many different aspects of their lives – from the local to the global; relating to family and friends as well as the wider community. The ability to understand the situation and perspectives of others is an important inter-personal skill. As the pace of globalization increases, and young people are presented with the challenge of how to relate to people from different cultures, the ability to find balanced and objective perspectives is also an essential ‘global skill’.
Activities to explore perceptions
This activity can be done with any country. Make or copy an outline map of the country or continent that you are going to study. Ask your students to jot down 10 -20 things about the place (in written words and drawn images). Ask the students to compare their overall perception as a class. Note down common perceptions and where there is disagreement.
Ask your students to identify 3 perceptions they would like to explore further. Challenge them to see how accurate these perceptions by researching them on the internet. Discuss the results as a class.
- What does this suggest to them about the way they perceive other peoples and places?
- What have they learned from this activity?
Activity: The True Size of Africa
Print copies of an outline map of Africa and of the ‘True Size of Africa’ for students. They could work in pairs or small groups. Give them the outline map and ask them to draw in an outline (in its correct shape) of the USA inside the outline of Africa (and label / shade it). Repeat this with the other countries that fit inside Africa. Now give out the ‘True Size of Africa’ Map.
- Are they able to fit in all the countries inside Africa outline map?
- What did they leave out ?
- Did anything surprise them?
- Have they learned anything?
You may find the section looking at some common myths about Africa on the same site useful
Also search #TheAfricaThe MediaNeverShowsYou in Twitter, a social media campaign that fights stereotypes by showing alternative images of the continent.