Perception Connection

If you use the internet or teach older kids, by this morning you probably heard about “the dress”. Gold and white or blue and black? From the lens of this class it’s interesting to see how quickly social media ignited the debate. 

As someone who is colorblind, I like that it allowed for a little empathy for kids to understand what it’s like to see things differently. My kids are always fascinated by my colorblindness and want to know about it. Dating back to my student teaching, kids have wanted to know what it’s like to be colorblind. This curiosity coupled with the fact that students weren’t confident in differing interpretations inspired me to create a perception lesson. I would have students providing insightful answers of interpretation with no confidence and seeking out what I thought to define if they were “correct” or not. The beauty of English (and why math based folks don’t tend to like say a poetry unit) is that there is often more than one valid answer. And the perception unit was born with the overarching goal of looping back around to show students that since the world can be so varied in how we see it and understand it, they ought to embrace literature in the same way. 

One of the starting quotes to the lesson fits nicely to the dress debate: ”The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to 
comprehend” -Robertson Davies

Pictured above, a small taste of some of the material from my perception lesson: I’m told (not that I can tell) that the picture on the left is what “normal” vision folks see, to me both of these pictures look identical. 

The lesson was created at King but I’ve tinkered with it and added to it in all the years since. I can modify the lesson to span 1.5 days or up to 2 weeks. It looks at how we perceive the world, optical illusions, colorblindness, Descartes and metacognition, and on and on. 

So I had to walk into work with a smile today, knowing the barrage of questions from kids on what “side” of the dress “debate” I stood on would come flying all day. 

Another quote I use in the lesson (before citing examples like echolocation): “It is the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit 
of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to 
perceive” -C.W. Leadbeater

Originally published at Hitch and his Thoughts