“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” Harriet Tubman – Dreams
Is dreaming good for us?
Ask the students what they dream about and you are sure to get a wild variety of interesting answers. Students dream all of the time and some use them to set lofty goals for their life pursuits. Others see dreams as fake pictures of reality. However they are viewed, thinking about dreams is a chance for students to become more self-aware about what they value and what they really want out of life.
Join Steve and Dan Fouts for an unforgettable conversation about dreams using the Teach Different 3-Step Method.
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Image source: Wikimedia | Horatio Seymour Squyer
Steve Fouts: 0:03
We are teaching different with American abolitionist Harriet Tubman with a quote about dreams. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” I really like this quote, because it takes a word, dream, that all the students are going to be familiar with, and puts it in a sentence that refers to the person having a dream. This broadens the definition of what a dream is, and what it means. Not so much the dreams we have at night, but the possibilities that dreams represent in our lives. Students are young, and many of them have great dreams, but others have been disappointed by wanting something that just isn’t manifesting for whatever reason. I think they’ll identify with this quote, and the deeper we dig into it, the more we’re going to find out what it means to have a dreamer behind every great dream. Dan, what would you say is the claim of this quote?
Dan Fouts: 1:25 – Claim
It is a positive affirmation of the idea of dreaming. Dreaming is a good thing, it’s worth doing. It’s also a reminder that we are the people who dream, there’s an individual behind the aspiration. It’s very empowering. Dreams are possible, and we can make them happen. Think of Harriet Tubman’s life, and that she was able to lead over 300 people to freedom through the Underground Railroad. That idea started in her head. She was the dreamer, right? She made that dream reality. This is an inspiring quote. When you unpack this quote it’s really profound.
Steve Fouts: 2:26
As far as a counterclaim is concerned, how would you put in your own words another way of looking at dreams that doesn’t share the same sentiments?
Dan Fouts: 2:43 – Counterclaim
Dreams are dreams. They’re not reality. They may make us feel good when we think about them, and put us in a positive mood, but some things are impossible, they’re out of our reach. If we spend our time dreaming about them, we’re wasting our time, because we could be spending it on more realistic things.
Steve Fouts: 3:13
Sure. It would be good to talk to the students about some things that they don’t feel like they’ll ever be able to accomplish. Is there something that they feel is out of their reach, and they gave up?
Dan Fouts: 3:34
To ask them, why did you give up? Why did you think that dream was out of your reach, but then this other dream you said was in your reach? What’s the difference?
Steve Fouts: 3:45
Exactly, or maybe it wasn’t even a dream that they ended up pursuing, it was something a bit more realistic. They have dreams periodically at night, but they’re not thinking of creating their own reality in the way that they want it.
Dan Fouts: 4:07
That’s why the Harriet Tubman quote is so powerful, because she’s essentially saying that dreaming should be done as part of your life. It’s something that you should pursue. It’s a good thing.
Steve Fouts: 4:20
Right, because we’re responsible for our own imaginations. We set our own limits to what we can accomplish. If we want to dream, we can do that, and presumably we can achieve it. Harriet Tubman achieved her dreams. So, in that sense, this is very inspiring. It’ll be interesting to see how the students deal with the counterclaim, how much experience they’ve had with disappointment, and maybe a practical way of looking at the world.
Dan Fouts: 4:57
It’s going to depend on the background of the students and their lived experiences. But again, the conversation will be a great opportunity for the students to get to know each other a little more and their different perspectives.
Steve Fouts: 5:15 – Essential Question
Here is an essential question that you can use to wrap up this conversation and hopefully get some interesting reactions from the students after the conversation. Is dreaming good for us?
Dan Fouts: 5:31
Yeah, I really like the open ended nature of that question, because the answer could be yes or no, along with a whole host of reasons why you could defend no or yes. In terms of curriculum connections, you can use this quote in a social science course when you study somebody who had a dream, acted on it, and was successful. This would be a great conversation to have just before studying inspiring people. You could have this conversation right before studying the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman and don’t even tell the kids that it’s a Harriet Tubman quote. Wait until the end of the lesson. I think that would be a clever way to handle it.
Steve Fouts: 6:29
Oh, that’d be very interesting. From the perspective of social emotional learning, I think asking some of the younger students if dreaming is good for us would be interesting. I’d like to hear what they think about it, and if it’s something that makes them happier, or if it’s something that brings them disappointment when what they want doesn’t happen. Taking the time to understand their emotions and feelings would be interesting as well.
Dan Fouts: 7:05
Yeah, very much so.
Steve Fouts: 7:10
Well, we hope you enjoyed Harriet Tubman this week. 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.
We will see you soon and take care.