In this lesson, we will discuss how reading and writing can expand our world views by allowing us to see things from other perspectives and challenge our own viewpoints.
Who Are You?
Who are you? This may seem like an easy question to answer, but when you try, it may be a bit more challenging. It is natural for us to answer with our gender, race, career, family, or hobbies. However, all of this is really just the beginning of answering who you are. Underneath all of this lies our values and beliefs, our principles and importance or worth. This is what leads to our worldview and our perspectives. Much of this is shaped by where we live, who we are friends with, what our parents have taught us, and our own experiences. If we only focus on these things that are around us, it becomes difficult to challenge them or to expand our worldviews.
Well, if you are unable to travel to new places, leave your family, or experience a different culture, there is still a way for you to learn and expand these beliefs and values. How? It is rather simple: read a book and connect these new discoveries to your own writing. In this lesson, we will explore how reading and writing can challenge and change your worldviews. Through reading and writing, you are able to not just learn more about your own values and point of view, but also see how these relate to other individuals and cultures.
How Can Reading Expand My World View?
There are currently 196 countries, over seven billion people, and about 2,000 different languages in our world. Each of these people have their own beliefs, and each of these countries have their own culture, pattern of language, knowledge, experiences, religion and beliefs. Our world is truly a diverse place. It is probably unlikely that you will visit every country or meet someone from each of these cultures.
When an author writes a book, he or she is representing not just his or her beliefs but the culture that has influenced him or her. Our worldview and perspective can change when we read and learn about life in these countries and how the world may be different to the people who live in them.
First, you may learn about a different time in history. Through reading, you can experience other countries' development, government, and even civil wars. In addition, you can also see how the world has changed and is still changing. Second, you are introduced to new belief systems. You are able to learn how other parts of the world view each other, what religion is followed, and what is accepted or not accepted in society.
Finally, you may be introduced to new interpretations. One event may be seen differently in each part of the world. By reading, you are able to learn these different interpretations and how they are important to each other. Learning about different interpretations makes it possible for you to challenge your own beliefs or balance them with others.
By expanding your worldview, you are also challenging your perspective. Once you learn about another person's perspective, you can then start to understand the culture more. Your point of view could change about a race, gender, sexuality, country, or event just by learning how someone else interprets this event.
How Can Writing Expand My Worldview?
An important part of expository writing is learning about your topic. To learn about your topic, you spend time researching. Through research, you are able to learn many of the same ideas you learn through reading, such as new cultures, history, points of view, and interpretations. However, research allows a more objective point of view where you learn the facts. These may be new facts you've never been introduced to or ones that challenge your previous thinking.
It is not just expository writing that can change your perspective, but personal writing. In personal writing, you are reflecting on your values. First, take a few minutes to write down those values and beliefs that are important to you. Look back at the beginning of our lesson and try to think beyond the initial list of who you are. What do you believe? What is important to you?
Now, let's look at a novel that you may have read - Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. What was the author's main point of view? Now, make a list of the ways that this point of view was different than your own. Finally, write down some ways that you feel different about any of the values you hold. What was introduced to you that you did not already know? How did this new challenge change your point of view? Do you feel that you have changed because of this new perspective?
When you read, it is a good idea to spend time doing some personal writing to reflect on the viewpoints that the author held. Then, see how they relate to your own. Finally, spend some time thinking about how the writing has changed or challenged a previous point of view that you have had.
All of us have personal values and beliefs. These beliefs are formed by where we are from, our family, our friends, and our own experiences. One of the easiest ways to learn about new cultures and to challenge and expand our worldview is to read and write. Reading allows us to expand our worldview by learning about history, new belief systems, and new interpretations. We can also challenge our perspective through writing and research. Finally, you can practice relating your values to an author's values by comparing and contrasting.
Once this video lesson ends, you could:
- Explore the correlation between reading and self-discovery
- Relate some of the things you can gain through reading
- Determine the way in which your world view is expanded by reading and writing