What Do We Value? Conversations of Sameness & Difference from SK to Grade 6
“Why would anyone choose to get rid of colour?” – M.C. (Grade 6)
From opposite ends of the building, there are two very similar conversations going on in our school; one of sameness and difference. Interestingly, it can be framed in very sophisticated ways. The conversations are underpinned by what we think we know about our society, and juxtaposed against divergent ideas, that ask us to think about the very way our society is composed and functions.
In Grade 6, the conversation started with “The Giver,” a dystopian novel whose societal values seek and enforce sameness, from the number of children in a family, to the way jobs are assigned. No one has access to their own memories and no one has even experienced colour. Everything and everyone is black and white, both figuratively and literally.
“I think they made the decision about sameness because they were trying to make the world a better place, so nobody would be sad- with no war, no conflicts.” – N.M. (Grade 6)Down at the other end of the school, the SK children explore the same ideas with a deceptively simple question, “why aren’t all people the same colour?”
“We would all be the same then; same colour hair, same skin, same everyone. If we are all the same then we would not know who everyone is.” – M.N. (SK)
In thinking about these conversations and how they connect, I was drawn to the idea that as human beings, our conversations change as we grow and experience more of life. Nevertheless, the underlying ideas never change. They centre on the human experience and what we value about it.
These conversations can lead in multiple directions because they are fortified by the stuff that makes us human, our values. The facts and knowledge that can be gained through these conversations are undeniable: SK is exploring mathematical concepts of area, and Grade 6, social justice, slam poetry, and literature; however, long after the facts and figures are forgotten, the basic conversation remains: