Purpose: What kind of thinking
does this routine encourage?
The routine encourages students to consider past perspectives and
develop a better understanding of how thinking changes over time
and across cultures. It helps students acknowledge that we have
strong stances regarding controversial issues, and that our stances
are influenced by social and historical context. It is also helps
to uncover stereotypical perceptions as well as ethnocentric and
Application: When and Where can
it be used?
The routine works best when dealing with issues that at one point
in time or in a different culture were considered controversial.
It can be used with topics about which we have strong stances that
are not necessarily shared by people from other cultures or people
in the past. Examples of these topics might include: slavery, holocausts,
genocide, human rights, women’s rights, child labor, war,
and so on. This routine works well when students have had some experience
with the topic and have at least a basic knowledge of its historical
Launch: What are some tips for starting
and using this routine?
This routine works well as a whole class discussion. Use the idea
of the time traveler to help students think about fairness issues
and values that have changed significantly over time or place. When
comparing past and present stances acknowledge that certain issues
may not be controversial to us today. List how we think about it
presently and ask students to step back and consider how people
thought about the topic during another place and time. What was
their reasoning? Make these ideas visible. Explore the possible
reasons for our shifts in thinking about this topic. Why do we view
it differently? How could we find out more information?