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Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy
Counterclaim: Well, Tolstoy speaks in absolute terms here which can be misleading. Maybe not everybody actually thinks of changing the world. Maybe most people are so self-centered and worried about their own status within the world, they don’t have time to think beyond their immediate circumstances to other people. That is just as reasonable of a claim. As for whether or not people think of changing themselves, just consider the burgeoning self-help movement– the books, videos, YouTube channels that beg us to consider alternative ways of life. We are constantly trying to change ourselves for the better. This doesn’t mean we are successful but we certainly try.
Essential Question: Ask the students– What is harder to change, yourself or the world?
Out of that question will come many insights into how students think about themselves and the world. Then, think about your curriculum when you teach about people who change the world in some way. Revisit this question each time you come upon a change agent.