Research Blog 8: Don’t Believe Everything You Think

MC40_BuperSticker_P1010592I passed by a bumper sticker in my neighbourhood the other day that made me think about this project – the stories that I’ve been hearing in conversations, and stories that have been coming into the website.

“Don’t believe everything you think.”   Clever.  For me, that simple sentence elegantly separates two thought processes that we so often take as one in the same.  It identifies that smallest split second between when we see or respond to something in a particular way –  and when our cultural norms kick in to confirm for us that it’s the only way to ‘see’ or respond to it.

A couple of stories around events in classrooms particularly come to mind.  In one, I was listening to a group of high-achieving students, growing up as they are in an individualist-oriented culture, venting their frustration with the way a teacher from a more collectivist culture was instructing them.  In the way that only teenagers can, the students were describing behaviour that seemed completely inexplicable to them.  So much so that as I reflected on the conversation, I found myself wondering if at least part of the perceived quality gap arose from two different orientations to learning, clashing in one classroom.  The challenge is that if the teacher and students don’t have a way of seeing that possibility – the stage is set for a lot of mutual misunderstanding and frustration.

So back to the bumper sticker – what if there was a way to freeze that moment in time – before our brains tell us that something is right or wrong, so that we could just register “different” or “unexpected” and explore it together?  That’s also what I hear in some of the stories you’ve shared – the realization of being in precisely that moment and pausing long enough to ask yourself or each other – what about that?

If this post prompts a story for you, I hope you’ll share it!

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