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Thinking About Thinking: How Can I Get Inside Your Head?

by Janet Gonzalez-Mena
May/June 2007
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/thinking-about-thinking-how-can-i-get-inside-your-head

We study about how to understand children’s thinking, but do we learn how to understand each other �" the people we work with and the families we serve? It’s usually easier to understand people who think like we do and harder if they don’t �" especially if we disagree with either what they say or what they do or both. It’s easy to label those people as wrong. Once we decide someone is wrong we’re tempted to argue; or if we don’t like confrontations, we might ignore that person. Neither approach will put us into the kinds of interactions that help us either get inside another person’s head or to take a different metaphor �" walk in their shoes. If we are to truly understand the people who don’t think like we do, we need a different kind of interaction. We have a better chance of getting both in their heads and in their shoes if we stop judging and labeling.

As a diversity advocate, I learned a long time ago to put a brake on judgments and remind myself when I’m tempted to judge, that the chances are I just don’t understand the person or their patterns of thinking and ...

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