A productive ensemble work environment, and likewise a concordant society, cannot be attained until each individual scrutinizes their own systems of ethics and beliefs, and then respectfully compares those systems with dissent in the public sphere. This comparison, this curriculum unit, and all cooperation, require an abeyance of negative presuppositions and presumptions, and a critical look at the heritage of our belief systems, to determine their current relevance and validity. Comparing and contrasting particular facets of self and community will lead each child to greater personal insight, and greater self-confidence. Only by knowing and accepting themselves can children begin to appreciate, and ultimately embrace, the diversities inherent in a classroom comprised of many ethnicities.
Once the students have expanded their awareness to consider Shakespeare's advice from Hamlet to Horatio, "there are more things in this heaven and earth… than are dreamt of in your philosophy..." then they must learn how to disagree in a respectful manner. They must learn how to keep working cooperatively with a person, even when the two students have unlike and even antithetical opinions. Students participating in this curriculum unit optimally will discover many idiosyncrasies which make them unique and interesting, by identifying which traditions, customs, and beliefs dictate their own and others' behaviors. The readings and improvisational exercises lead the students to explore their own idiosyncrasies and specialties. The exercises require demonstration of how to not allow presuppositions or prejudice to interrupt or halt creative growth.
This curriculum unit seeks to reveal each student to his or herself through awareness expansion. From very early in our lives, we learn to judge or to estimate the value or worth of a person or thing, and this judgement becomes our opinion. When an opinion is reached, it can become a decision with unalterable resolve. Sometimes decisions become such strong beliefs that they remain fixed as convictions. All of this usually happens without consciously deciding to formulate a conviction. Through the exercises and activities in this unit, the student will critically evaluate why they believe something, and not just what they believe.