Sometimes kids surprise you. Sometimes you think that, because they are kids, they don't understand the deeper connections between the projects we do in school, and larger life lessons. Sometimes they prove you wrong.
We wrapped our photography unit by having a discussion about things they had learned to be true about photography. Here is what they came up with (edited by me for clarity of expression, but basic concepts preserved):
Sometimes 10 year olds come up with some pretty big #truthbombs.
Truthbombs resonate, because they're... well... TRUE. They're usually pretty simply stated, but they make a big impact because they're expressed in a context you, perhaps, had not thought of before. We'll be spiralling back through these photography/life #truthbombs throughout our learning year. They are good ones.
My students hit me with another #truthbomb this week. I asked them to discuss the question, "Do you believe people are naturally good?" More than 2/3 of them said that they did not believe this statement to be true. This broke my heart. I expressed my surprise about their responses to some of my colleagues, which led to an interesting adult discussion about how it is possible that children's worldviews are being shaped by technology in a negative way. News is often sad and serious. People sometimes say horrible things to each other on social media. It is easier to dehumanize others and treat them in ways that are cruel when we can hide behind our screens to do it. It is difficult to escape the media and communication options that surround us and are available 24/7. We start to believe what we see, and much of it is negative. Knowing that the magic ratio of positive to negative moments in a day needs to be at least 5:1 for optimal emotional and physical health, are we seeing enough of the good stuff in our feeds, streams, and media? After thinking about all of these things, is it really technology that is the problem, or does it get an unnecessarily bad rap?
My questions at the end of this discussion were:
How can we use technology for good? How can we harness its power to help our students see that we are all connected... that despite any perceived differences, we are all simply human beings who crave love and belonging and live on one planet that we all need to take care of together?
How do we help people understand that all of us belong to each other, and that every time one of us hurts another, it hurts us all?
How do we find wisdom in the way we use technological tools to help us get to the #truthbombs that allow us to make connections to our lives in ways that might induce positive change in our thinking, like we did with our photography projects?
I don't have all the answers, but I was really grateful for technology that allows anyone to share their story with others through video this week. Here are two videos that I watched that helped me to feel more optimistic. I shared them with my students. Some of them said it shifted their thinking about the inherent goodness in people. Maybe they will help you feel better too. If you have any thoughts or answers to the above questions, please share in the comments below or in our Facebook group.