Schlitz, Marilyn Mandala, Vieten, Cassandra, Miller, Elizabeth, et al. (2011) The Worldview Literacy Project: Exploring New Capacities for the 21st Century Student. New Horizons for Learning, [S.l.], January 2011. ISSN 2372-4838.
This paper overviews The Worldview Literacy Project, an experiential pedagogy designed to increase students’ awareness of their worldviews. The curriculum opens a conversational space of exploration where diverse worldviews are welcomed with curiosity and wonder, in service to creating the deeper collective understanding and more effective sense-making required to navigate life in the post-industrial age. Designed to be used in middle school and high schools, the curriculum explores the pivotal role that worldview, perspective or point of view plays in perception, information processing and behavior. We offer a frame of reference out of which the project was developed, overview the elements of the curriculum, and present pilot data and observations from high school classrooms. Qualitative results from the pilot program were generated through classroom observation, teacher interviews, and student essays and interviews. Results suggest that the Worldview Literacy Project had beneficial effects on students’ development. The project appears to provide a platform from which students can better navigate complexity, be more self-aware, and make choices with greater discernment. We found that students expressed a greater capacity for self-reflection and empathy, experienced more comfort and less reactivity to unfamiliar situations, and displayed a greater sense of in-group and community identification. In addition, teachers reported that students were more engaged in the learning process, demonstrated greater attentiveness and class participation, and showed notable improvement in the quality of verbal communication and writing skills. We discuss plans to take the web based project to a broader audience through dissemiation of a web based curriculum grounded in focused teacher training