Open-Mindedness: An Important Part of Your Child’s Education

On April 21, 2020,

An open mind — the eagerness to expose oneself to new experiences, beliefs, values, perspectives, etc. that differ from one’s own — enables a child to explore how diverse people across the globe think and act. Open-mindedness conceives chances to rethink assumptions, identify misleading information, and consider alternative avenues to make decisions. Open-mindedness is vital in teaching students to understand how contextual factors (financial, historical, religious, geographic, legislative, innovation, and technology) shape the way people live in their own homes.

Why do modern-day tribes live in tents when we don’t? Why do women in rural areas carry their babies on their backs instead of in regular strollers? Yet, if open-mindedness is actively promoted, teachers can actually offer the contextual factors that mould these decisions, and students can understand and appreciate why people make choices which may feel unconventional for us. If we truly want our students to understand this interconnected world and its residents, we must offer them experiences, knowledge, and skills needed to be receptive to and relish the diversity of human experience, knowledge, and belief systems. We inculcate open-mindedness as a part of our educational offerings in the following ways –      

Encouraging Cross-Cultural Diversity 

How does cultural diversity promote “openmindedness”? At International schools, students become accustomed to hearing accents and associating with people who dress, think, or act differently from what they are used to seeing in their society or community. As they assemble relationships and become comfortable with people who have had experiences quite different from their own, they start to see many differences as value-neutral.

Challenging Stereotypes and Generalisation 

Unfortunately, many teachers across the world let derogatory comments slide instead of using them as an example to help students analyse their statements and generalisations being made.

Students need to understand why some people have different lifestyles, and why some people are consistently wrongly discriminated against – locally and globally.    

Interactive Learning 

The notion of openmindedness grows by leaps and bounds when students converse, interact, and learn collaboratively from ordinary students of another culture. Valuing international understanding is important, we deem it essential to incorporate international children’s literature, films, videos, and websites into our classroom activities to cultivate learning which is exciting and also encourages a double-sided form of communication. 

Promoting Constructive Criticism & Understanding Perspectives

The practice of seeking out different perspectives assist students in recognising how people

interpret events and issues in different ways based on their backgrounds and experiences, knowledge, beliefs, and values. When students come to the realisation that people have

valid reasons for seeing things in diverse ways, they can move on to appreciate these different ways of thinking within cultural, political, and other contexts.

The open-mindedness approach to teaching is a method which blends well with the international approach of the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, and lastly the IB Diploma. An education encouraging open minds, conceptual understanding, inquiry-based learning, and extracurricular activities can help students grow leaps and bounds.