“Learning from others” was a challenging topic for the development team to define and portray in a way that would help kids grasp the nuances of the topic:
––Recognize & accept when you make a mistake about something or someone
––Admitting when you don’t know something
––Be openminded and curious about learning from others
––Be careful not to make ‘wrong’ assumptions based on stereotypes
After many brainstorming sessions and revisions, the AIM team created an interactive comic that was based on the ARTHUR episode, “Dear Adil.”
In the episode, Arthur has a Turkish pen pal named, Adil. After reading a comic book that takes place in Turkey, Arthur begins to make incorrect assumptions about Adil’s life and starts to ask Adil odd questions like, Do you eat lambs eyes? Adil starts to feel uncomfortable with the assumptions Arthur is making.
The interactive team created an ‘instant messaging’ section that lets kids choose the messages they want Arthur to send Adil. This format lets kids feel like they are the ones talking to Adil.
Here, Arthur asks Adil about the types of clothing he wears. Adil is comfortable with the question and is all smiles as he responds.
Some questions allow kids to learn what happens when you make an assumption without having the facts. Here, Arthur make an assumption based on a comic book as he references the “fact” that the comic book’s hero encounters man-eating newts during his adventures in Turkey. Arthur asks Adil, Do you have man-eating newts where you live?
Kids can see from the expression on Adil’s face, that he is uncomfortable with the question—and from his response, maybe even upset that Arthur thinks man-eating newts are part of his culture.
And finally, to get kids reflecting on their buddy discussions, the development team brought the learning back into kids lives with final discussion opportunities:
Bring the learning into your classroom!
In “Dear Adil”, both Arthur and Adil learn about living in a different part of the world, but you can bring the learning closer to home and link into what is relevant in your student’s lives. Get started with the Class Discussion prompt question in the Learning From Others section in the AIM Teacher’s Guide, for example:
- Have you ever had a friend or classmate from another place or culture? How did you learn about one another? What kinds of questions do you ask one another?
- Has a classmate ever made assumptions about you or a friend that were wrong? How did you learn about it? What did you do about it?
In the fall of 2016 we will learn about results the research team has been collecting on all the AIM materials during the 2015-2016 AIM Research Study.