Different Perspectives

Time required: Variable depending on format

Grading: Not required (but feedback may be helpful)

Disciplines: Any (but especially useful for research & writing) 

Why: Encouraging students to brainstorm and explore topics from different perspectives prior to research, writing or discussion requires them to think critically and expand their point of view.

How: 

Have your students explore their topic from three different perspectives. 

  • Describe
    • Describe your subject in detail. Include components, interesting features and detail
  • Trace
    • What is the history of your subject? How has changed?
  • Map
    • What is your subject related to? What disciplines are related?

After exploring different perspectives, ask students to look for interesting relationships or mismatches.

Variations: 

  • You can select one question that is particularly relevant.
  • You can ask students to provide answers in a range of forms from informal notes to a more structured assignment.
  • The activity can be adapted as an anticipation set for a new topic or discussion (either online or face to face)
  • It can also be adapted as an assessment.

Adapted from The Writing Center – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill