Perspective is knowledge
What: [reading] is intertwined with the knowledge of the world. Language, I think, is what links the world together. This is how we have passed information, values, and practices through millenniums. Reading texts of other religions, practices, and just other humans is knowledge. Books and texts carry not only knowledge but creativity and imagination. “Language and reality are dynamically interconnected” (21). Reading a book we find ourselves into the author’s world. We can begin to understand how they see the world and their point of view: more knowledge. Authors of the bible, hieroglyphs found in Egypt, and even cavemen art is a step into viewing the world as they see it: even more knowledge. However we take that knowledge and put our own sense into it. “ …When a critical understanding of the act of reading took shape in me” (21). Reading involves having a critical perception of what is being read; he wants us to think about how we can put our own thoughts into what we just read. On the other side of things, reading and writing is not only a political act, but a creative act because it provides knowledge. Teachers and students are on an equal plane; the student learns as much from the teacher as the teacher learns from the student. The author of books expresses their creative knowledge that they have learned from others. “The student is the subject of the processes of learning to read and write… The fact that he or she needs the teacher’s help, as in any pedagogical situation, does not mean that the teacher’s help nullifies the student’s creativity…” (23). It is a political act because asking for help for reading and writing does not mean the student stalls their creativity. They are merely expanding their knowledge by asking for help.
So What: Calderon explains that sharing our perspectives with others allows ourselves to become more involved, more informed, and take a higher stance. This allows us to have access to more power in the subject. We cannot go blind into a political debate: we must understand the policies, what they stand for, and have an understanding of our personal opinion. If we want to share our opinion, we need to understand how to stand for that. We need to have education to allow us to fully stand up for what we believe in. Especially now a days when policies and props have no many misguiding sentences; it is easy for people to manipulate the way a policy says so it can get more votes. Calderon addresses how education supports perspective by using the example of Barak Obama. There are so many videos now that I see on youtube and facebook about how he went about those who were politically against him. At his rally’s, he explained to security to allow them to stay, so he can understand where they are coming from, he wants to hear them. “By learning to understand others’ perspectives, language, and culture, Barak Obama not only improved democratic participation, but also became better able to understand himself, his family’s history, and the languages, cultures, and perspectives of community members with whom he worked”. Barak Obama created a new perspective by educating himself on other’s and their perspectives. When we accept other perspectives, we can create a better appreciation for them. With accepting other perspectives, we also educate ourselves in a different point of view and forever expand our minds.
Now What: Before in high school and middle school, we were taught history, math, and other factual forms of education. College is really the time when we are able to take religion classes, philosophy, and ethics. Last time I took religion was in the 8th grade and they taught only Christianity, explaining what I had to believe in. Very shove-it-down-your-throat kind of way. It made me hate religion. Now I took a Hebrew bible class in college, where someone took the time and effort to explain their religion, what they believe in, and why. Not only is this true education, but it was a different perspective. College is also the time when I think we truly find our passions and the energy to fight for those passions. Most rallies and protests are full of college students trying to make a better change for society. Education allows us to not only learn more about different topics, but it also allows for new perspectives from the diverse set of students, teachers, and topics taught. There’s always a part of the story that you really do not know about. We have to keep an open mind for everyone we meet. It’s hard when there is so much stigma against immigrants, homeless people, gay people, transgender, and so on. No one wants to hear the other side of the story. At Venetia Valley, I work with 7th and 8th grade students; and for the most part that’s what they are. But once they talk about something other than science or English, you really hear them. For example, the students were going to go on a field trip to Berkeley; most of the students were excited by at the same time most of the students yelled across the class room “what if we can’t afford it”. I do not know what the charge for the trip was, but I remember always being able to go on trips. I never thought I wonder if my parents could afford this. The teacher reacted slightly to this, and stated she would try to work it out. But many students kept asking, stating how they can’t really afford any trips. We need to really open our ears to hear their stories. It is their perspective, and therefore it is a possible educational moment. “Providing time for students to learn about the professor’s life and for the professor to conversely learn about the lives of students is essential to building students’ capacity for perspective-taking” (Calderon). I know that learning about our professors life is a little easier in college than it is in middle school. But I really have no idea if the teacher knows about their lives, or if they know about her life. This is how we connect to each other; knowing a small sample of what life is like in another person’s world is how we get to understand each other, and even get a little more perspective on the world. I think this would help not only the students at Venetia Valley, but the teacher as well. The teachers can gain perspective, and maybe adapt to their learning abilities to better teach their course.