Understanding Partial Perspectives By Beth Berila, Ph.D.

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In groups of four, students are to go take photographs with their cell phones of the same object. Each group of four is assigned one object. They are each to take a photograph of that object at whatever angle they wish. If they wish to put a finish on it or crop it, that’s fine too. The only initial stipulation is that each individual take the angle of photograph that speaks to them, and that each group focus on one object

Then, they are to share the images with one another.

  • How are the photographs different?
  • How are they similar?
  • Why did each individual take the angle of shot they did, or put the finish on it that they did?
  • Does any one image tell the whole story? What about when we put the images together? Is the story complete then?

This activity helps students see the significance of partial perspectives; that every one of them sees the world through a particular lens, a lens that is shaped by their identity location. We get a more complete story by placing them in dialogue with one another.

This practice is excerpted from my book, Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education (Routledge 2015).