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Concept of Perspective

Updated November 17, 2021
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Concept of Perspective essay

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It is often said that the only thing that gives you control is perspective. You do not have authority over the situation, but you do have a choice on how to view it. Perspective is applied in everyone’s daily life, but the disadvantage of perspective is that not one person’s outlook is the same. This generally triggers conflict, which then becomes a hot spot for a contact zone. A contact zone is a concept created by Mary Louise Pratt in her writing Arts of a Contact Zone described as a “social space where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today.”(514).

Contact zones are formed when there is a disagreement or difference of opinion on any topic. These zones occur in a schooling environment interminably, affecting student-teacher and student-student relationships. In addition to the schooling environment, these contact zones can also control the players on the lacrosse field. When it comes to an education, a conversation is essential. This dialogue could lead to a heterogeneity in perspective, which almost always causes contact zones in the classroom. One example of a contact zone is the College Writing I class.

The context of the lesson, thoughts, and opinions of classmates constantly spoken out, somehow all connect, yet, every student is enrolled in a variety of classes, each class giving the student different facts to base their opinion off of. In addition, to the different classes and opinions, the students also have unalike backgrounds. For example, one could be from a different country with dissimilar cultures or even just from a different state, causing their education and level of learning to constantly change. Their perspective on a reading is bound to be different from yours.

While reading Arts of a Contact Zone by Pratt the first thing that came to my mind was the game of lacrosse. Literally and figuratively, division one college lacrosse is a contact zone. Each player coming from their own different state, or even country to compete on the same team together. Although some athletes have similar roles, the way they play and how they see the field is based on where they came from and the way that they were coached. As a young woman coming from Long Island, New York, where lacrosse is the foremost sport, I began playing right out of the womb and growing up there has made the lacrosse field my second home. However, some of my teammates are from Ohio, where the sport is not well known at all, they just began playing in high school.

While knowing little to nothing about lacrosse they continued to play, and when we congregated and began playing together, many difficulties emerged on the field. The team did not see the field the exact way I have come to learn to, our passions for the game were completely different, and the priorities on the field were incompatible. In one occurrence, while playing against Michigan State during one of our fall ball games, my teammates that originated from the Midwest did not understand how the Michigan Women’s Lacrosse Team could play so fast athletically while maintaining their stick skills and focus on the game. The skill of these girls was provoked by their years of playing together and extra practice time in addition to their already twenty hours a week schedule.

Kent State’s didn’t have the same priorities as Michigan did during our fall season, which caused us to be behind when playing more experienced teams. My team believed that since we were practicing, lifting, and preparing already as a team there was no need to put in extra time and work to become better than the girls who were doing just the same as we were. Pratt would have defined the field as a contact zone, not only because the girls from the coasts viewed ourselves superior towards our teammates and their skill and IQ level, but because of the clash, diversity of opinions towards the game.

My teammates learning and the places that they were raised caused them to be slower when grasping the real priorities of the game because of the age that they began to develop skills for the game. Their passion did not reach the lengths that mine and the other’s that grew up playing lacrosse. The difference of opinions on where we needed to start our improvement faltered. Not all of the team agreed that putting more work in independently before or after practice was the answer. This difference of opinion led to contact zones within our team practices, gatherings, and games.

Resembling lacrosse, a college classroom is a contact zone. Teachers and students constantly arising conflict about the homework and tests given. Most teachers aim to engage students by forcing homework and exams. However, I am sure most students would prefer it if the professors made their classrooms student-centered and gave them a voice. In Pratt’s writing, she also goes on to talk about “Teacher-pupil language”, which she then continues to explain as a teacher only using only their perspective, not allowing the student any innovation. While she allows the student to learn from her own experience and knowledge, she forces them to become incapable of creativity or their own ideas. She also questions the teachers’ capabilities in allowing students freedom. “Are teachers supposed to feel that their teaching has been most successful when they have eliminated such things and unified the social world, probably in their own image?”(521-522).

Flexibility would give students a chance to make their tasks more creative, adding direct life experience on the topics assigned, and avoiding confusion when attempting to push back against the dominant point of view or, read against the grain. The pliability will demand students to share their perspective causing cultures to meet and engage, or maybe even in some cases, create an environment where transculturation thrives. These environments could include the lacrosse field or a school. On the lacrosse field, transculturation is capable of being a college team brought together from all over the world to play the same sport in their own way. While these players may all be on the same team playing the same sport, they play in their own way allowing their fellow players to develop the skills that they learned from wherever they have come from.

An example of transculturation in the classroom would be two students from diverse places speaking about the same topic in their own perspective sharing ideas and learning of different values. Mary Louise Pratt persistently explains Guaman Poma’s literacy. “New Chronicle is an instance of what I have proposed to call an autoethnographic text, by which I mean a text in which people undertake to describe themselves in ways that engage with representations others have made of them” (35). His projects are examples of transculturation when presenting to the reader his bilingual way of comparing two completely diverse cultures.

It has been shown that not only is perspective consistently used as a conversation starter but that it is also a concept not many understand. When on the lacrosse field or in the classroom. These contact zones have caused rifts in these imagine community, created by people that share a likeness. Pratt used various examples ranging from “teacher-pupil” to the Spaniards and Incas to show the audience that separate life experiences lead to differences of opinion and more importantly transculturation.

Words Cited

  1. Bartholomae, David, et al. Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. Bedford/St.Martin’s, Macmillan. 2017. Print.
Concept of Perspective essay

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