In this week’s Philosophy Friday, 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner for General Nonfiction, James Forman, Jr. — a three-year EXPLO Instructor who went on to launch the Maya Angelou Charter School and is now a Yale Law Professor — discusses the importance challenging your own perspectives.
If we just spend our time talking to the people with whom we agree, it wouldn’t be the right approach to democracy and it also wouldn’t be the right approach for me to live a full, happy, and engaged life. It gets incredibly boring to be with the choir all the time.
Problem-solving business concepts, class assignments — even relationships — can often be less about strategizing and more about perspective-taking. Once we have the capacity to see things from another point-of-view and apply it adequately, we are more likely to prevent misunderstandings, enable constructive conversations, and achieve unexpected solutions.
ABOUT CHALLENGING IDEAS
At EXPLO, we encourage the pursuit of lifelong learning — which means we are constantly doing our own studying up, reading on, or relearning the concepts that we teach throughout the summer. Here are some fun links that we've been recently reading on challenging your own ideas and perspectives.
School of Life launched Cards for Perspective: A set of 20 cards featuring fresh perspectives through which to look at life
- The hierarchy of disagreement: The best and worst argument techniques
Is the structure of the internet designed for a participatory democracy? Nick Couldry, from London School of Economics, on the digital age of community and collaboration.
- Athens-based architect Katerina Kamprani reinvents everyday objects into functionally obsolete designs — a fun new way of looking at the every-day
- TED speaker Celeste Headlee: "If you’re going to have an argument with someone, the best way to do it is to assume they can teach you something."
- Find out what it’s like to quit social media as a teenager in 2018 (spoiler: there's an increase in embracing one's own perspectives and ideas)
- When we hire new employees at EXPLO, we encourage them to read Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most
- In this board game, accusations fly in all directions. Somewhere amidst the chaos, you have to find out who is speaking the truth — and who is trying to convince you of a lie
P.S. If you are interested in reading James Forman, Jr.’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning book, “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” you can find it here
At EXPLO, challenging your own perspective and ideas takes many shapes, forms, exercises, and events. Just a few EXPLO experiences that students have tried that to help expand your point-of-view in a summer at EXPLO include:
- Course: See how the rule of law is applied in nation-states with varying governments and codes of conduct in Criminal Justice ( grades 10-12)
- Weekend Trip: Concede to leaving your home team's jersey behind and find yourself cheering on an MLB classic at a New York Yankees Baseball Game ( grades 10-12)
- Course: Learn how market surges and crashes have built up and taken down entire economies in Economics + Ethics of the Stock Market (grades 8+9)
- Club: Have a round table discussion about big and small-picture philosophical questions with students from all over the world in Philosophy Club (grades 8+9, 10-12)
- Weekend Trip: At the Natural History Museum, find yourself looking through the perspective of a 200,000-year-old Neanderthal or a present-day archeologist (grades 4-7, 8+9, 10-12)
- From King Arthur’s Court to Panem’s District 13, learn how to govern with clear communication and deliberation during periods of crisis in Fantasy Situation Room (grades 4-7)
- Workshop: Discuss and debate your opinion of what makes a more perfect union in Utopias + Dystopias (grades 8+9)
- Course: Get a taste (literally) of other cultures — learn how to prepare, cook, eat, and savor food you've never tried before in World Cooking (grades 4-7, 8+9)
Like this content? Subscribe now and receive weekly emails in your inbox every Friday morning with our Philosophy Friday content.