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Summer SAVY 2017, Session 3/Day 2- Truth vs. Perception (Rising 6th/7th)

Posted by on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 in SAVY.

Truth vs. Perception

Today was all about how certain versions stories & histories are taken as the truth, often without us even questioning it. It’s important to remember that history is subjective, just like reality and perception. We all know the adage that there are two sides to each story. I don’t really believe there are only two.
Pigbacking on our first activity from yesterday, we began class by brainstorming and discussing the things we think of as “American values” (liberty, equality, independence, etc.) These are things we accept as axiomatic, but I wanted students to consider what they actually mean so we came up with some real life examples of these values. We discussed just how we come to accept the truths without questioning them, and how that can have both negative and positive consequences.

I got students to further the consequences of accepted certain truths in our world as normal by reading the introducing them to satire (a concept we’ll pick up again on Day 3) with the anthropological essay “Body Ritual among the Nacirema.” There’s a surprise contained within the essay, and I don’t want to ruin it so if you want to know, ask your student!

I think it’s important for all of us to question how history gets told and how stories are adapted because often our perception of past events doesn’t match up with the truth. Christopher Columbus is one of our most monolithic (and very controversial) historical figures, and I began our discussion of his log by first asking students what they know about Columbus, why we celebrate a holiday honoring him, and why we place so much emphasis on his encounter. After showing the students a short cartoon (from the 1960s) about Columbus’s “discovery,” we read from his travel log, examined the language he uses and how characterizes the native peoples, with a view to understanding how one “truthful” version of the Columbus story got passed down to us.
From there, we got into groups so we could look at the original versions of four fairy tales and compare them to the more familiar Disney adaptations. The students were interested to discover what had been changed from the original versions, which led to a larger discussion of why these details had changed. What had the authors of each version intended? What sort of truth were they working from? For more information about revised other adapted and revised fairy tales, visit:

Dr. Anderson

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