Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Power of Perspective.

In education we often talk about the need for Aboriginal perspectives in pedagogy. This is true.

Unfortunately, many teachers have no idea what this means. In fairness to them, before you read on think to yourself, apart from invasion perspectives during a colonisation unit, can you think of any Aboriginal perspectives in education?

Are you really sure what the phrase 'Aboriginal perspectives' means?

The first step in understanding, respecting and eventually incorporating Aboriginal perspectives is simply by understanding the nature of perspective.

Human beings simply aren't equipt to see reality, merely to create it - and I mean that in the most literal, scientific sense possible.

The following photo is a prime example of this.

as you can read in the top corner (But cannot see in real life) the squares A and B ARE EXACTLY THE SAME SHADE.

The problem is to do with your perspectives.

Your brain is very familiar with the idea of 3D representation on a 2D surface, so much so that most of you probably didn't even think twice about where the light source is coming from in that picture. But of course, there is NO LIGHT SOURCE. It is a created image. Your mind accepts that B is a white square made darker by shade and that A is a black square might lighter by the non-existant light source when in fact they are IDENTICAL.

Cut and paste the image on your computer if you do not believe me. (Waiting music)

And now even that you know the truth, your brain is still incapable of giving up its perspective. Luckily for us, racism is not quite so deeply rooted in the subconscious mind. At times it can seem like it is, but trust me, it is not as fundamental a flaw as you have just experienced with your own perspective.

Cultural perspectives influence our ability to interpret ALL DATA that is presented to us in our lifetimes. It is the cultural blueprint that is stamped on our subconscious. From everything to waving, handshakes, please and thank you, clothes, school, work, freedom, democracy, independence, money... none of these exist in an absolute or universal sense, they are all all cultural creations. Particular adaptions and consequences of choices made eons ago by our respective forebearers.

So, no one culture has the REAL perspective, but each offers a unique take on existence and the role of humans on this planet. From knowing the range of cultural perspectives is how one develops depth.

This too is a very literal concept. It is to do entirely with vision. If you have one eye you can see, but you have no depth. We require two contrasting yet comparable images to enable our brains to apply depth to our vision. Cultural perspectives are no different. Except that instead of just two sources of vision, cultural perspectives offer up a world of opportunities for increased depth to your perspectives :)

A couple more pics with a couple of helpful tips:

Just because it looks possible doesn't mean it is!

Just because it looks impossible doesn't mean it is!

This was influenced by both the Beau Lotto and Wade Davis talks on Ted.com

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