Sunday 23 August 2020

Teaching Visual Critical Thinking VI - The Escape?

It was my second ‘What’s going on in this picture’ class with the 7th grade on Critical Visual Thinking.   We are all constantly observing in our daily lives by using our senses but when observation leads to thinking, thinking leads to reflection.  It is only then that observation becomes key to critical thinking. We need to also infer from our observations. In this class, I used this picture for the children to observe what they thought was going on in the picture and what did they see that made them infer it and what more did they observe.

Another reason for the wgoitp activity is to give children the opportunity to collaborate to learn and grow from each other and understanding of diverse perspectives.  It enhances their confidence and self-esteem. Communication stimulates thinking, without which learning is stifled.

Cessie started the discussion, clearly expressing that the man and woman in the picture looked like migrant Indians.  The man carried the baby wading through stagnant, possibly, drainage water  across dry, paddy field.  She observed a lot of garbage and plastic strewn all around and with the murky water and concluded it could be India.

Ruqayya mentioned that they looked like evacuees leaving the place with essentials as the bags looked light.  She inferred it was cold out there as the man and woman were in jackets with the baby wrapped in a blanket.  They looked poor for the man was not wearing shoes.  Maybe something bad had happened to them.  The man’s grimace suggested he was angry, horrified or scared.  The lady at the back was wading through water also carried a bag with colourful plastic stuff in it.

Izzy observed the man carried the baby either to save life, or if not, camping or hiking with no shoes. His face had a determined look.  The woman at the back probably carried camp equipment.  There seemed to be lots of bushes around with stagnant water. The baby was covered for warmth. 

Sharban commented that these people looked as immigrants from another country.  The man was without shoes, minimum baggage and a baby which looked like it was falling off the man's arms.  The place was surrounded with reeds.  Although only the woman was wading through water, the man also would have done the same to reach the spot where he was but he did not look wet.  Most probably they were running away from something or somewhere.

Dr. Humorous made his observations.  He stated that that they were fugitives escaping from law or something dangerous along with their baby to a safer place.  He made that assertion because only such people travelled through muddy, swampy, deserted places with no transportation. He observed the man carried a baby with a small bag of belongings was without shoes.  He later noticed the woman, perhaps his wife, was carrying his shoes and another bag with what looked like colourful toys or possibly things for the baby.  The grass was dry and crispy, the climate looked damp and cold as they were wearing jackets and the baby was wrapped in a blanket.  The path they were travelling was already visited by people as there were plastic bags, old shoes, and cigarette butts around the place.

Afrah observed that they are probably refugees who carried a bag each of essentials traveling barefoot and the woman was carrying shoes in hand.  They seemed to travel across a wasteland or garbage dump wading through murky water.  It was obvious the weather was cold and damp and they had to wade through water which was dripping off the man’s pants although he carried the baby warmly wrapped in a blanket. 

Shahul concurred with the others that the climate was cold because of the jackets they wore.  Based on that he stated that were refugees on the border of Kashmir far away from the city. 

I later revealed the answer to them that they were Kosovar migrants illegally trying to cross the border into Hungary rightly captioned, ‘In search of a new life.’ 

This activity is interesting because when the children heard each other’s observations and opinions,  they were able to see the common thinking of each other.  When they differed, they were able to adapt to others’ opinion thereby developing another critical skill, of ‘flexibly thinking’.  They are able to articulate their ideas, make linkage between ideas and communicate effectively their inferences to their peers.  Is there a better way to instil these skills in them?  All in all, a good English class.

By Naqeeb Sultana

Note : Student chosen aliases have been used instead of real names. Due to copyright restrictions, the actual picture cannot be reproduced. Instead a student drawn illustration has been used and a link to the actual picture has been provided in the article as well as below:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Au Revoir

  Au Revoir  The crucible moment came for me when, 16 years ago, I pulled my 7 year old son from school. Once again. Thrice in four years. W...