blog post

What Does a Victoria’s Secret Bag Say About You?

Zoe Weil is a blogger for Psychology Today (PT), and twice a month we share her blog posts here. Enjoy! My husband Edwin and I periodically visit a remote coastal Maine village. During our last trip, we had a strange experience that caused us to reflect upon how our assumptions, judgments, and personal histories shape our reactions,…

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woman looking into rows and columns of screens, each of which has a different person on it

11 Activities to Help Students Understand Different Perspectives

by Marsha Rakestraw In mid-January, two boys, ages 12 and 13, killed more than 500,000 bees and destroyed tens of thousands of dollars of property. Allegedly just for kicks. In December 2017, a young Muslim woman was attacked on a transit train in Vancouver, Canada. Most people watched; only one young man intervened. Incidences of…

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teens sitting on a curb using mobile devices

6 Videos for Teaching Students About Tech Bias and Influence

by Marsha Rakestraw Technology is not neutral. And while we’re increasingly learning about the pervasive influence of fake news and misinformation, we rarely consider that the algorithms and filters our tech uses contain bias. Those algorithms limit and shape what we see, how we spend our time, and what we think about. Those algorithms can…

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peace building

What a Humane World Looks Like: Engaging Others with Compassion and Acceptance

by Cassandra Scheffman Editor’s Note: One of the most challenging aspects of being a humane educator or activist is engaging with people about challenging issues in ways that inspire and invite, rather than in ways that make them feel judged and defensive. When we learn about the suffering and destruction in the world, it’s so…

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protestors

5 Assumptions We Should Try to Make About Everyone

by Marsha Rakestraw The recent US election has highlighted a significant divisiveness. And the media and social media have been awash in hate speech and arguments, calls for healing and moving on, judgments, ideas about next steps, and assumptions. Usually when we make assumptions about others, they’re not positive ones. We tend to make split-second…

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A group of protestors with two talking on megaphones

Don’t Fall Into the Changemaker Trap That Makes People Resist Positive Change

by Marsha Rakestraw Awhile back I had dinner with some new non-vegan friends and colleagues. I was the only vegan there, and it came out that they’d been a bit concerned that I’d pull out my “vegan police” badge and start lecturing them about their food choices. When I told the person next to me…

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pink

Looking Beyond “Pinkification” and Other Gender Stereotypes

by Marsha Rakestraw In March 2014, a couple of essays appeared in Slate and New York Magazine, castigating mothers of girls for complaining about the “pinkification” of girl stuff, citing it as an example of girl blaming. Author Yael Kohen wrote, “No symbol of girl culture is more powerful than pink.” There was a significant counter-response…

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women from africa

Changing the “Single Story” About Africa(ns) … and Others

by Marsha Rakestraw Recently I read two books, each featuring a female protagonist. One was by a black woman from Barbados, the book filled with characters of color living “normal” lives. The other by a white man who wrote about the tragic (and eventually redeemed) life of a young impoverished girl in Mozambique. Two different…

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display of magazines for sale

Magazine Scheme: Are We Here?

Students explore articles, images, and ads in magazines targeted to teen girls to explore messages about women and girls and the effect of those messages on young women and men. (The activity can also be modified to explore appropriate men’s magazines and messages about men and boys.) Recommended for grades 7-12. Time: 2 class periods…

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Resources: Mouse vs. Zucchini

Mouse vs. Zucchini: A Lesson on Perspective

Using a brief video featuring a mouse and a zucchini on a kitchen counter, students will consider the issue of perspective and discover and think about the perspectives of other people and of nonhuman animals. Recommended for grades 2-7. Time: 30 minutes

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