Once a week in their Culture and Communication classes, our students in Grades 2 to 5 read a chapter of The Odyssey – the Ancient Greek tale of hero Odysseus and his men trying to get home after the Trojan War.
The story itself is very entertaining but the students are also asked to use the story to think about some very big ideas. Every lesson we record the wisdom of our students and I thought I would share some of that wisdom with you:
- ‘Different people think different things are beautiful so that means beauty is an opinion and we can’t judge it.’
- ‘How do you even know you are happy if you are not sad sometimes?’
- ‘It is hard to write rules for every little thing and it is sometimes hard to say what is right and what is wrong. It would be easier if there was only one rule – care about others.’
- ‘It is silly to punish someone who already knows they did something wrong and have learned not to do it again.’
On Reasoning With Others
- ‘It is better to help people understand what you are saying than to just tell them that they are wrong.’
In thinking about these really big ideas, students practice critical and creative thinking techniques and develop a belief that everyone’s thinking has value – including their own. These techniques can be applied to any problem or any subject and their ability to apply these techniques is strengthened by their belief that their ideas are valuable. All cultures have big stories like The Odyssey that students can read and think about big ideas. The more big stories they read the better!