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ERIC Number: EJ912183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1056-0300
Living in the Global Village: Strategies for Teaching Mental Flexibility
McNulty, Carol P.; Davies, MaryAnn; Maddoux, Mary
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v23 n2 p21-24 Nov-Dec 2010
Mental flexibility emerges as an essential skill for preparing young learners for global competency and denotes the ability to learn from and about different perspectives. Students who are regularly exposed to "alternative approaches to a wide range of scientific, social and everyday problems" appear to be more receptive to alternative solutions than "inflexible thinkers who are more likely to avoid consideration of competing answers and explanations." Consistent educational exposure to conflicting points of view develops mental flexibility, predicts tolerant attitudes, and shows lasting effects into adulthood. Likewise, expanding perspectives in the curriculum creates more accurate representations of the experiences of marginalized groups, emphasizes the complex interaction of diverse groups in shaping a culture, develops empathy, teaches critical thinking, and promotes the valuing of diversity. It is this process of recognizing, experiencing, and thoughtfully considering different points of view that serves as the foundation for students to view themselves as participatory agents of the global village. Like all cognitive skills, the development of mental flexibility is best reached through ongoing opportunities which allow students to "try on" and practice multiple perspectives. In this article, the authors share several strategies to guide teachers in developing mental flexibility in children. They use two children's books to create meaningful contexts for implementing multiple perspectives. They present examples teachers can use as a starting point to create their own mental flexibility strategies. (Contains 13 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A