"Them" and "Us": A case of mistaken identity
Herein lies what I perceive to be the 'them and us' paradox. These very approaches we use to make sense of our world are those which can create division while also having the potential to unite. In considering perceptions of grouping, we can begin to appreciate how 'them' and 'us' are actually in some sense, part of a collective 'we', and demonstrate that among individuals, and the groups with which individuals associate, there is in fact some form of relatedness and shared identity. Through the art of helping people to develop awareness of similarities, perceptions of connectedness can form. This can help to build openness to understanding one another and compassionate consideration for the values that are held.
Just as we need to acknowledge and respond to difference, we must look for commonalities and identify and acknowledge these. Together, these characteristics are what constitute the identity of an individual or group and help to build a sense of community.
So my questions are:
- How can grouping, classifying and generalising, as approaches that people are familiar and proficient in applying, be utilised in a way that bring acceptance and understanding in the field of gifted education?
- Can an exploration of commonalities and explicit communication about these help to develop a sense of shared identity that could bring people together for the mutual purpose of effecting continued positive change for our gifted learners?
Inspiring people to identify with gifted learners and their needs could assist in breaking down the "them" and "us" mentality. While valuing and paying homage to our diversity, there is, I believe, potential for positive changes in perception of giftedness and talent through helping people to see that...
Underneath it all, we're just the same, same, same