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One of the courses I taught for many years was First Year Experience (FYE). In teaching the study skills aspect of the course, it was imperative that my students learned the four language skills : reading, writing, listening and speaking at an advanced level. As an exponent of integrative pedagogy, it was impossible for me to teach each skill in isolation. Nevertheless, I knew to impart in my students knowledge of the various kinds of reading and writing and the techniques necessary for success – focusing on study reading and academic writing, of course, for obvious reasons.

I recently read a book on relationships. It was like I was reading for academic purposes because of the structure of the book. That aside, there was a subsection that positively discussed the resilience and strength characteristic of a particular female group. I am a proponent of the notion that stereotyping is a societal epidemic upon which many other societal ills have their origin. However, reading that article, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it contained a lot of what I had first-hand experience of and could validate based on factual evidence(objective) not opinion (subjective).

That got me thinking…. What would our world be like if we moved from stereotyping (negative) to thematization (positive)? In other words, if we developed themes that portray positive attributes of people and things, wouldn’t that impact our world in healthier, beneficial and loving ways?

Let me illustrate: When you see or hear a Harley Davidson motorcycle, what comes to mind would include:

· Amazing
· Cool
· Awesome
· Strong
· Beast
· Excellent
· The Best
· Fabulous
· Legendary

Through themes we celebrate strengths and achievements. We build and not pull down.

We can start that paradigm shift, one person at a time and like wildfire, it will spread and more people will catch on.

What do you think?


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