“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” Stephen Covey – Diversity
Does diversity makes us stronger?
Diversity is something many students confront for the first time in school. They are required to learn with students of different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, not to mention those who embrace different traditions, learning styles, and ways of seeing the world. When students confront diversity, they confront moral choices on how to react to people who are different from them.
Join Steve and Dan Fouts for a conversation about diversity using the Teach Different 3-Step Method.
Image Source: Flickr | Portal Abras
Steve Fouts: 0:05
Hey everybody, Steve and Dan Fouts here. We are teaching different with Stephen Covey, American businessman and author, with a quote about diversity. Here’s the quote, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” Now, diversity is a very familiar word in society. Students have heard this word diversity. It’s preached to them to be accepting of other people. You want to make sure you’re not thinking the whole world revolves around you. There are different types of people that you will need to get along with. Diversity is positive. In general, this is what students hear. This is a pretty straightforward quote. Dan, what would you say the claim of this quote is?
Dan Fouts: 1:04 – Claim
Diversity makes us stronger. When you have people of different cultural backgrounds and socio-economic backgrounds, with different traditions and perspectives, that is a sign of strength. A community is made stronger when there are people who bring different talents and skills to the table. This quote offers a very positive look at diversity.
Steve Fouts: 1:38
Diversity is a difficult concept to appreciate, not only for students, but for people in general. When there are people who are different than we are, often our first reaction isn’t acceptance or understanding. Sometimes it’s a little bit of fear, and reluctance, because you don’t know where other people are coming from.
Dan Fouts: 2:10
You’re stuck in your own head.
Steve Fouts: 2:12
Exactly. When you think about diversity, you’re accepting different perspectives and you’re being empathetic. It’s a very intellectual endeavor to appreciate other people, and it’s something that we all have to think about.
Dan Fouts: 2:24
I think some students, depending on their age, will have the maturity to see diversity in this broad way among different people in groups in society, and maybe in their school, if their school is multicultural. To bring it into a conversation, you might want to ask kids to talk about some positive school experiences they’ve had, where they’ve had to work with a diverse group of students who’ve each brought a different talent or skill. Maybe a group project or something. It would be good for them to see that when you have different people contributing different things, back to the Covey quote, it’s a sign of strength. One person can’t do it. You have to have a group doing it, each person contributing different things.
Steve Fouts: 3:41
I like this quote. What would you say a counterclaim is?
Dan Fouts: 3:45 – Counterclaim
I guess to push back on this I would say that sameness gives us a common purpose and is also a strength when there isn’t diversity. In fact, there are situations where I think diversity might divide us. I’m trying to think of examples. Maybe this is a superficial one, but the kids may connect with it. When you go to a school assembly, the expectation is that you cheer for the school, that you have school spirit. Put your differences aside and unite in a common purpose. In that sense, if you have diversity within the audience with some people not caring about the school and others caring about the school, that would be a sign of weakness.
Steve Fouts: 4:44
And, I’m going to add to that. The military. Now, I know that the students aren’t in the military, but they can appreciate this question. When soldiers in the military have a mission, they have to have each other’s back and follow orders. Do you want diversity of opinions? Is that going to be a strong military if everyone has their own opinion? There’s power behind sameness, too. Joining together for some common goal or mission.
Dan Fouts: 5:39
I have another example, a family. If you have three kids in a family, on a certain level, the parents can’t always respect the diversity of opinions when making decisions. There are expectations that all the kids in the family have to meet. The shared purpose and togetherness are the strengths. Those are examples that the kids could connect with.
Steve Fouts: 6:13 – Essential Question
Yeah, definitely. Diversity is a really big word. You can talk about diversity of perspectives and ideas, and diversity of people. Maybe diversity of people is a good thing, but diversity of ideas isn’t such a good thing. I think this would be a really good conversation. You can wrap this conversation up with an essential question like, “Does diversity make us stronger?” Let the students decide what angle or definition they want to take on diversity, and then make an argument whether or not that resulted in strength or weakness.
Dan Fouts: 7:02
Yeah, this conversation will come alive.
Steve Fouts: 7:06
Well, we hope you enjoyed Stephen Covey and his quote about diversity. Make sure you visit our Conversation Library where we have many conversations like this, each with a different quote, a sample claim, counterclaim, and an essential question to get you started.
So, take care everybody. We will see you soon.
Dan Fouts: 7:38
Alright, see you soon.