Perspective Matters

Throughout this year I have been thinking a lot about perspective.  It’s why I wrote a post about Spatial Reasoning here, and shared templates for skyscraper puzzles here and why I shared my presentation at this year’s OAME that included perspective here.  It’s also why I shared videos like this or this or this.

So why is perspective so important?  Mathematically, perspective taking involves us being able to mentally rotate objects in our mind, it includes us composing and decomposing shapes and figures into other shapes and figures…  Really, perspective taking is one small piece of what Spatial Reasoning (Read this monograph to learn more) is all about:

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Another look at perspective:

Have you ever been in a situation before where somebody is discussing with you their students – the ones you will be getting next year?  Was it enlightening or awkward, helpful or fear-inducing?  In my buildings, this is the time of year when lots of decisions start to happen for next year.   Administrators moving to new schools and new ones coming, new teachers being hired, experienced teachers being given new assignments within the school or in a new school, and of course, students about to be promoted to the next grade.  And with change comes uncertainty and anxiety.

In all of this uncertainty we often have opportunities to discuss with others some of our personal thoughts and feelings about our year, those who we work with, those who we teach……  So I thought I would challenge you to think about what your typical conversations look like.


A few things to think about when discussing others in your building:

  • Do you tend to see the good in others and describe things in a positive light or aim to help others see the potential issues and risks?
  • Do you tend to talk in generalities or specifics?
  • How will the other teacher/administrator perceive the messages you have given?
  • What information would you like to hear from others?  How specific and detailed of a description would you like?
  • Most importantly, where is your line?  You know, the line where it’s too much information and is either starting to cause you more stress or where you realize that the information is too negative.

A challenge for you:

What conversations have you had lately to describe to others about any of these changes?  I think it can be powerful to hear both positive and negative experiences so we can think about how to navigate through changes.

If you are changing roles, or schools, or even getting new students, what conversations have you had?  What might you have done differently?


Share a response below, or on twitter

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Perspective Matters

  1. While I prefer not to have these conversations about my incoming students, I am willing to have them about outgoing students if asked. The information I share is the thing that comes to my mind as the key characteristic of the child. If possible, I phrase it in terms of what will help them succeed. Last week I told a colleague “This child has a lot of learning differences but he is very aware of them. Sometimes he needs help with motivation.” About another, I said, “These two are a really good team, let them work together as much as possible.” A third I told her was very hard on himself and thought his effort was wasted if it only moved his grade from a C to a B (and not an A). I won’t pretend that I never devolve into judgements or gossip, but I certainly try to give the information that I might have wished to have without adding my own baggage.

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    1. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing students against each other. “She is one of the top students…”. I just want us to be aware of the kinds of things we say, the kind of beliefs we have about others, and the potential impact our words/beliefs might have.
      When we are thoughtful, our words will be used to be helpful for our students!
      Thanks for sharing Kathy!

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