Teachers can provoke thinking by creating contrasts and dissonance. Dissonance is about creating difference or conflict; it might involve teaching about caring for the environment in a room strewn with litter, using body language that does not match what you are saying, or playing commercial Christmas music over paintings of the nativity. Including contrasts and dissonance in our teaching can raise awareness of certain issues and challenge learners to rethink, perhaps by considering the spiritual and relational riches of some past cultures in contrasts to modern cultures

  • Teachers can use a painting such as Frederic Watts’s “Hope,” whose title does not seem to match the painting. This can help students rethink hope and move away from classifying it as cheery optimism.
  • Teachers can contrast how some athletes behave with the way we would like to be treated in sports. They can compare computers to humans and then ask about the differences.

These examples show how dissonance and contrasts can raise awareness and challenge people to rethink.