Change of Perspective

Musings on Writing, Reading, and Life Narratives

Fiction writers and literary critics speak of point of view. Social scientists are more likely to discuss perspective. But both of these terms refer to essentially the same construct: the consciousness behind the perception and narration of experience. Each individual’s point of view is unique, and point of view shapes the stories people tell to themselves and to others about themselves and their relationships with their environment. The same event narrated from two different perspectives will produce two different stories.

A change of perspective can expand our perception and reframe our thinking about our experiences. We can all benefit from an occasional change of perspective.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Different Perspective on American History

Howard Zinn, Historian, Dies at 87 - Obituary (Obit) -

Professor Howard Zinn is probably best known for his revisionist history book A People's History of the United States, published in 1980. When my daughter was in high school about 15 years ago, I was quite impressed that her history class was reading this anti-establishment book, which offers a perspective on American history decidedly different from the standard fare.

In the late 1960s I was an undergraduate at Boston University, one of the most politically active campuses in the U.S. Prof. Zinn was a standard fixture at just about every protest march and rally, so I was not surprised to find the following in this obituary:

Professor Zinn retired [from Boston University] in 1988, spending his last day of class on the picket line with students in support of an on-campus nurses’ strike. Over the years, he continued to lecture at schools and to appear at rallies and on picket lines.

Yep, that's exactly how I remember Howard Zinn.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"That One"?

Did you hear John McCain call Barack Obama "that one" last night?

It's not quite as bad as "you people," but it's close.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Are You Reading for Banned Books Week?

ALA | Banned Books Week:

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).

Check out the American Library Association's Banned Books Week Website for information about the most frequently challenged books and about how you can fight censorship in your community.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Girls’ Gains Have Not Cost Boys, Report Says

Girls’ Gains Have Not Cost Boys, Report Says - New York Times


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has issued a report that corresponds to research by the American Council on Education and other groups detailing that while girls have been graduating from high school and college at higher rate than boys, there is no "boy's crisis," writes Tamar Lewin of the New York Times. The more significant disparities in educational achievement, the report says, are between different races, ethnicities, and income levels. The AAUW's report is a follow-up to their widely discussed 1992 report that described how boys in the classroom were educated at the expense of girls, and is also a response to the notion put out recently by conservative commentators that boys are in turn being shortchanged. "Many people remain uncomfortable with the educational and professional advances of girls and women, especially when they threaten to outdistance their male peers," the report states, but "The most compelling evidence against the existence of a boys' crisis is that men continue to outearn women in the workplace."

Source: Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Perspectives on Children

Bad Behavior Does Not Doom Pupils, Studies Say - New York Times:
Educators and psychologists have long feared that children entering school with behavior problems were doomed to fall behind in the upper grades. But two new studies suggest that those fears are exaggerated.

This article in the New York Times reports on developmental studies of children being published in two respected scientific journals. One study found that children with antisocial or disruptive behavior in kindergarten were not necessarily behind other children academically by the end of elementary school. The other study found that the brains of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) developed in the same way but at a slower rate than the brains of children without the disorder.

The studies "could change the way scientists, teachers and parents understand and manage children who are disruptive or emotionally withdrawn in the early years of school."

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