Another dot in the blogosphere?

Get some perspective

Posted on: May 10, 2017

This tweet is a good reminder on the dangers of not taking someone else’s perspective.

If you followed the instructions exactly, one side of the staircase would be crowded with people running into each other.

One might imagine an unimaginative administrator trying to prevent staircase fatalities by first walking to the base of one. The administrator then looks up and sees two imaginary lanes, left and right, and constructs the instructions based on that perspective.

However, the users of staircases only share that perspective half the time, i.e., when they are walking up. The other half of the time, they are walking down.

If the administrator took a staircase user’s perspective, the instruction might simply be “Keep to your right on the staircase”. This would work for people walking up or down.
 

 
I make this seemingly trivial point because it is not trivial at all. In the broader scheme of things, taking the perspective of people we work for, with, and serve are important.

In the context of teaching, it is critical that teachers as content experts see the difficulties of learning that content from the perspective of novice learners. If they do not, they might teach in ways that make as much sense as the staircase sign.

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