The value of differing perspectives in the classroom
In the age of social media and tailored news networks, it’s quite easy to create a world that constantly feeds us information and ideas that we want to hear. We’re given many opportunities to completely customize our own little worlds and specialize in very niche interests if we want to. But these curated windows don’t fully reflect the world around us.
There would be many gaps in our knowledge and growth as individuals if we only exposed ourselves to the things we’re already comfortable with and information we’re already aware of. So while it’s tempting to surround ourselves with people who share our opinions and ideas, there are many benefits to regularly being around differing perspectives. Especially, in a classroom environment where students are actively learning and expanding their minds.
Perhaps the most immediate benefit for differing perspectives in the classroom is that your discussions will be well-rounded. This lends room to spirited debates and other valuable conversations that teach young minds how to express their opinions, debate respectfully, and expand their range of understanding.
It also gives students the chance to add context that might not be readily available among a crowd with similar backgrounds and cultures. For example, having the opportunity to study literature from a different country or culture can be amplified by hearing from someone who was raised within it. This can help you identify with the story’s author and find a layer of the narrative that an outsider might not be readily able to.
Throughout our lives, our opinions and ideas will fluctuate. It’s a great thing because it’s how we grow and mature. Being in school is the perfect time to challenge some of those preconceived ideas we might have about the world. It’s an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding, especially if your fellow peers have come from a different background than your own. Along with challenging pre-existing opinions, having this diverse mix of peers can help you bust any stereotypes or myths you might have about certain cultures or people groups.
Exposure to new learning styles
A lasting benefit you might not expect from a diversified classroom is the opportunity to learn from the processes of your peers. Being around students from different walks of life can not only expose you to different cultures, but it can also introduce you to new learning styles. As many cultures approach schooling differently, you might discover that the way you’ve always been taught to study in your own culture might not meet your individual needs as well as the studying styles you’ve seen practiced by others.
Overall, the chance to study among students from different walks of life can benefit everyone. This is especially true when students from different cultures and countries study together. As students approach different aspects of their education, the opportunity to learn from their peers’ experiences and perspectives will help them become more understanding, well-connected beyond their immediate circle, and better informed about a variety of cultures.
At an International school like EF Academy, you have the opportunity to meet students from all over the world. You can embrace new cultures and learn from different perspectives.