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Education - Social Studies Resources (Elementary)

Perspectives, points of view and stories

Throughout Alberta's Social Studies program, there is emphasis on helping students understand multiple perspectives and points of view. There is also recognition of the value and power of story, in outcomes phrased in terms of "..what do the stories of [different ethnic groups] tell us"...  

"The program of studies emphasizes how diversity and differences are assets that enrich our lives. Students will have opportunities to value diversity, to recognize differences as positive attributes and to recognize the evolving nature of individual identities. Race, socioeconomic conditions and gender are among various forms of identification that people live with and experience in a variety of ways."

Teaching and learning about the perspectives and viewpoints of other people and groups, requires awareness and examination of our own beliefs, values and ways of viewing the world.  It also requires looking for resources that allow us to develop a multidimensional view of others.


"One of the most important aims of teaching is to prompt students to empathize with other human beings. This is no easy accomplishment in a society that pits people against each other, offers vastly greater or lesser amounts of privileges based on accidents of birth, and rewards exploitation with wealth and power."  Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice, Vol I by Bill Bigelow & Linda Christensen in(370.115 RET 2007)

"Portal (1987) argues that empathy is a way of thinking imaginatively which needs to be used in conjunction with other cognitive skills in order to see significant human values in history..."  Historical thinking in the early years by Amy von Heyking

The Danger of a Single Story

In this TED talk, Nigerian Novelist Chimamanda Adichie eloquently talks about the negative consequences of our only knowing a single story about another person or country

Being fully human

"Look at any of half a dozen YA novels set in South Asia and you might conclude that all the girls in the region are trying desperately to flee oppressive marriage or widowhood or sexual exploitation. You will feel pity for them and more, you will be grateful that you are not in their place. The thing is, you can't see people as fully human if all you can feel for them is pity. It's even more complicated when you are 8 or 10 or 14 years old and those "other" people instead of staying in their oppressive countries have somehow arrived in your neighborhood and your school....This is why we need more stories that don't define cultures as monolithic, impermeable and unchanging, that don't show the people within those cultures as trapped in unending cycles of victimhood." from Writing with a Broken Tusk

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