Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Blind Men and the Elephant

Click the elephant to read the folktale, "The Blind Men and the Elephant".

After students have heard the story, use the following questions to guide discussion of how differences in perspective can make it difficult for people to communicate. Students should be encouraged to apply the moral of the folk tale to real-life situations.
  1. How does it feel when another person doesn't "see" something the same way you do?
  2. What happens in the story when each blind man "sees" the elephant? Why were there six different ideas about the elephant? Were any of the men right about the elephant? Were any of them completely wrong?
  3. What did the blind men learn from the Rajah? What does the storyteller want us to learn from this tale?
  4. Do problems like this happen in real life? Think of times when arguments or misunderstandings have occurred because people saw situations from different points of view. Describe what happened.
  5. What if the men in this story were not blind? Would they still have different ideas about elephants?
  6. Does the story give you any ideas about how these problems can be solved? What are some steps you can take to understand why another person doesn't see things the way you do?