There are Multiple Sides to Every Story

Perspective Taking | Teaching Tolerance

This article draws on the tale of The Six Blind Men and an Elephant. Each of the men explain what they “see” through their encounter with the elephant. While each of them have valid ideas of what the elephant is like, because they are blind they cannot see the whole picture. The use of this story is to show that without examining other perspectives both teachers and students cannot have a holistic view of anything. While your individual interpretation may seem flawless to you, it is important to remember that we need multiple perspectives to discern the truth. Just as history leaves out many stories and alters the encounters it includes to create our historical knowledge of something, we cast aside other perspectives when we insist our way of knowing is the correct, true or only way of knowing. As a future English and Social Studies teacher, this article reminds me to encourage my students to look for multiple perspectives and understand why they exist. Life and history are not only told by the winners, but the “other side” as well. If we desire a truly comprehensive history, we need to look at multiple sides and recognize that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

I like the way this teacher planned the lesson on taking different perspectives. I think I could also use this story and then have a debate, but I would choose a different topic to fit with a unit on perspectives that I incorporate it into. This way I could not only have it fit the theme, but it would also test the outcome that deals with formal speaking.

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