sama, yang sama, tetapi berbeda

Commonalities begin the conversation, but differents expand empathy.

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Have the students look for all the commonalities among the students in class. Make this list visible. Then have the students begin the work of naming all the "differents" among their classmates, posting that list. This then provides opportunity to talk about same, same, but different among the class. This phrase "same, same, but different" comes from our working with teachers in Indonesia. 

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Photo of Myron Williams

We used this for teachers so our questions are geared toward them. Depending on the age of the class you might ask questions about where they were born; how long have they lived in their house; do they have siblings and/or pets; hobbies or favorite things to do when not in school. Of course if they are older students let them develop their own questions and see what they come up with.

You frame it with describing that all of us have some things in common (then use what and where you are as examples), then explain how you want to look further into the similarities, seeking to build empathy and friendship before going to the differences. Then even as you switch to differences you do so as a way of better understanding everyone, seeking respect, peace, and understanding.

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