Study Session: Learning to See 33
After you have completed the activity, discuss the following questions
with your partner:
What happened in the first round when the person described what to
build? What did you each discover?
What success did you have? What did each of you do that helped you
What hindered your ability to accomplish this task?
What else would have helped?
Did you discover that this was a difficult or an easy task for you?
The task is meant to help you learn the importance of sharing similar
understandings and agreed-upon meanings when communicating. The more
specific the descriptive details you used, the more likely you were to com-
municate the directions successfully. You probably found that your inter-
pretations, especially without interaction and feedback, led to misunder-
standings. When you collect observations and discuss the details together,
you have a better chance of understanding the complexity of what you’re
seeing. This is more effective than operating from individual opinions and
interpretations. Take Another Look
Once you become aware of the influences on what you see and how easy or
hard it is for you to notice and describe details, you are on the road to improv-
ing your observation skills. The activity of sitting back-to-back and trying to
build what is being described also helps you assess your listening skills. Your
ability to hear and see clearly will improve with each step you take to identify
what shapes your perceptions. Notice how mood cues may affect your ability
to be objective. Identify what you need to overcome as well as what you need
to sharpen. Here are some further activities to move you along in this process.
More Exploration of Mental Filters and
Their Influences on Perception
Go to a public place like a street corner, park, or mall with a friend or col-
league and sit on a bench together to people-watch. Talk together about what
you see, challenging each other to give specific details rather than make inter-
pretations. Discuss the differences in what you notice as well as how and why
you interpret what you see the same or differently. Write a reflection paper on
what you discover.