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How Books Can Open Your Mind

Heather is a Primary Teacher from Canada who is currently working in London through Protocol Education. Heather has a love for literature and she shares her insights from a recent TED talk. 

How Books Can Open Your Mind – TED TALKS

Amongst the motivational, inspirational, and applicable talks that analyse human behaviour and intrinsic thought or self-improvement, TED TALKS presents Lisa Bu who discusses how books can lead you to various viewpoints and realizations.

As a former habitant of Asia, I found myself intrigued by the map showing China being at the centre of the illustrated landmasses of our planet. It was an entirely different view of the world. The ‘Western’ world isn’t portrayed as ‘the west’. Korea too was situated more central, as Europe took the west and the Americas took the position of the east with the great pacific central.

In her talk, Miss Bu discusses her dreams. Like her, we can recall our child-selves isolated, finding rigidness in society as our wishes and hopes for a far-reached/difficult career, were dismissed. Through this, we all are able to relate and feel a sense of personalization with the speaker. We are emotionally connected with this lady, who then begins to discuss how she overcame the denial of her unreachable dreams and lack of support.

While China is a heavily regulated country still employing a state of communism, Bu talks about how reading allowed her to “climb out of [her] Confucius guilt trap”. Through the words and texts therein, she could look at her situation, her life, and the world in a different viewpoint than is so heavily influenced by culture and life in a static state. Without travel, reading allowed Bu to experience the various understandings and wonder that travels undergo when they’re broadening themselves to the horizons of different countries and ideas.

It is important when discussing story elements with students, to inquire about how the story might change if it had been written by another author; someone from another country, someone near the end of their life, a child, in a different genre, etc. These are recognizable as the child reads more and more materials pertaining to the same thing. Furthermore, this helps them realize why, as they get to higher academics, they need to site various sources and argue an opinion. Some elements will work for them, others won’t. Understanding why, and the importance of varying opinions, is key to cognitive growth and individual success.

We see the clashing and yet coincidence between religion while we’re studying it with our students in primary years. Often I’ve heard “This is just like in my religion”! Students do get excited to see similar themes carried in different views or stories. Drawing extra attention to how customs vary while the core beliefs or principles remain congruent are vital in building the fundamental stepping stones to having respect and acknowledgement for each other. This builds our tolerance and our curiosity, while helping us and our students establish a sense of self and what it is we believe (further accepting that it is perfectly fine for different people to have different views).

Our views have changed overtime, as has the education system. Finding a way to get in-touch with the core purpose to aid children in the aspirations is essential to further developing and evolving our methods as educators, motivators, and supporters of that spark.

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Tags: Heather, Canadian-trained, teacher, books, literature, views, education,

Category: Australian Teachers


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